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BUSINESS NEWS

31 May 07. QinetiQ Group plc audited preliminary results for the year ended 31 March 2007. Financial summary:
Revenue £1,149.5m. 2006 £1,051.7m
Underlying operating profit £106.0m 2006 £90.7m
Underlying operating margin 9.2% 2006 8.6%
Underlying profit before tax £94.0m 2006 £80.1m
Statutory profit before tax £89.3m 2006 £72.5m
Underlying earnings per share 11.3p 2006 10.2p
Basic earnings per share 10.5p 2006 10.0p
Net debt £300.8m 2006 £233.0m
Cash flow from operations £107.0m 2006 £107.6m
Orders £1,214.0m 2006 £816.7m
Backlog (excluding LTPA) £850.9m 2006 £608.4m
Underlying effective tax rate 21.2% 2006 22.7%
Dividend per ordinary share 3.65p 2006 2.25p
Operational summary:
Strong orders growth of 48.6% (organic orders growth of 41.6%)
Book to bill ratio of 1.2:1 (2006: 0.9:1)
Revenue increased by 9.3% (QinetiQ North America organic revenue growth of 14.2%)
Continued improvement in underlying operating margin to 9.2% (2006: 8.6%)
Underlying profit before tax up by 17.4%
Underlying earnings per share up by 10.4% to 11.3p
Final dividend increased by 8.9% to 2.45 pence per share (2006: 2.25 pence per share)
QinetiQ CEO Graham Love commented: “I am delighted to report that QinetiQ performed strongly in the year, proving that our strategy remains effective, our business model robust and that we continue to execute well against both. Our selection as preferred bidder for the Defence Training Rationalisation programme shows that we have successfully repositioned ourselves in the UK defence market, with a track record of delivering technology-rich support services and supplying technology into major programmes. In North America we have seen strong organic growth, supplemented by our continued acquisition of good companies which gives us the critical mass to bid into the bigger defence programmes. “Looking forward, our principal markets in the United Kingdom and North America continue to provide good opportunities for growth, and we believe we are well positioned as an innovative, technology-based company to perform strongly in future years.”
Going forward QinetiQ’s strategy remains consistent with previous plans, and the focus is on execution.

30 May 07. Cobham plc is pleased to announce that it has reached agreement to purchase the assets of Patriot Antenna Systems. The cash consideration for Patriot comprises $18m on a debt and cash free basis payable on completion, with additional consideration of up to $27m, contingent on future performance. The purchase is anticipated to complete in quarter three of 2007 subject only to certain environmental clearances, as approval has already been received from the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States (CFIUS), regarding foreign affairs. Based in Michigan, USA and employing approximately 100 people, Patriot designs and manufactures parabolic antennas, utilising its patented dual skin technology, and a range of specialist Radio Frequency (RF) equipment. The antennas range from very large 12 metre antennas for deep space communications to military and civilian satellite communication antennas. Patriot also designs and manufactures innovative satellite communication products, focused on the medium and large antennas market, including high accuracy positioning systems, portable and flyway antenna systems as well as die cast microwave feed components.

29 May 07. Avaya Inc. is in talks with private-equity and strategic bidders about selling part or all of the company, according to people familiar with the matter, the latest sign that there could be a new round of mergers and acquisitions in the telecommunications-equipment industry. Having recovered from a near-death period in 2002, the Basking Ridge, N.J., company now has a market capitalization of $6.18bn and is trying to take advantage of a fertile period for high-tech deal making. Among parties that could be interested in all or parts of Avaya are private-equity firms,

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