United Industrial Corporation designs, produces, and supports aerospace and defense systems through its wholly owned subsidiary, AAI Corporation of Hunt Valley, MD, and AAI Corporation’s direct and indirect wholly owned subsidiaries (AAI Services Corporation, Aerosonde Pty Ltd, Aerosonde North America Incorporated, ESL Defence Limited, McTurbine Inc., and Symtx, Inc.). It is probably best known for its Shadow UAV, which serves as the de facto battalion-level/Class II UAV in the USA’s current and future force, and for its OneSystem ground station that can control UAVs from several manufacturers. Other products and services include unmanned aircraft systems, aircraft and satellite test equipment, training systems, counter-sniper devices, armament systems, aviation ground support equipment, logistical and engineering services, and maintenance, repair and overhaul activities. The firm has 2,500 employees worldwide, with projected 2007 revenues of approximately $700 million.
Now Textron Inc. of Providence, RI, has announced a definitive agreement to acquire UIC in a cash transaction valued at approximately $1.1 billion (inclusive of UIC stock expected to be issued to bondholders, pursuant to the terms of the $120 million 3.75% convertible senior notes issued by the company in September 2004). The per-share offer is a 7.1% premium to UIC’s closing price on Oct 5/07.
DID discusses the deal’s terms below, and adds some thoughts re: the UAV market. Rationales for the acquisition have been stated by a number of parties:
In May 2007 “European Air Transport Command Agreement Signed” discussed plans underway by Belgium, France, Germany, and the Netherlands to create a joint “pool” of military transport aircraft, by coordinating all 4 fleets to make their planes available to participating countries under specified conditions. Belgium, France, and Germany have all placed orders for the 35-ton capacity Airbus A400M, which is scheduled to begin production in 2009-2010.
Now Defense-Aerospace reports that Germany’s BWB procurement agency has floated a EUR 1 billion (about $1.4 billion) initial tender for outsourced through-life maintenance of their 60-plane A400M fleet – and possibly France’s 50 planes, as well…
In July 2006, “The 2006 Saudi Shopping Spree: A Hardened, Networked National Guard” explained the SANG’s importance within the Saudi political structure, and covered a $5.8 billion request for LAVs wheeled armored personnel carriers, weapons, and C4ISR equipment to modernize that force. That official DSCA request has yet to be followed by a contract; when we talked to GDLS in October 2007, they said that negotiations were underway, and that they expect to complete a deal some time in 2008.
In the meantime, a second request for LAVs, Hummers, trucks, and weapons has been submitted. At $600+ million, the October 2007 request on behalf of the Saudi Ministry of Defense and Aviation is comparatively small. Barring some unforseen Congressional resolution within 30 days, the clock can begin ticking on negotiations for a second set of LAVs and related equipment for different branch of the Saudi armed forces.
Major General J.N. Mattis, Commanding General of the 1st Marine Division during Operation Iraqi Freedom, called them “the biggest improvement in lethality for the Marine infantryman since the introduction of the M1 Garand in WWII.” The USMC calls them the first-ever Rifle Combat Optic (RCO) of the United States Marine Corps, and placed a $660 million order for up to 800,000 in 2005.
Trijicon Inc. in Wixom, MI calls them ACOG – Advanced Combat Optical Gunsights (R) whose Bindon Aiming Concept(TM) permits a both-eyes-open shooting method in fast moving Close Quarter Battle (CQB) scenarios like urban warfare. The soldier has both eyes open for better identification and fewer mistakes, and once a decision is made it’s just “put the dot on target and shoot” – and leave the batteries at home. Now the US Army calls ACOGs their M150 Rifle Combat Optic, thanks to a significant order…