Thales Alenia Space Expands U.K. Foothold with SEA Acquisition

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PARIS — Franco-Italian space hardware provider Thales Alenia Space and Cohort PLC of London on June 9 said they had completed the sale of Cohort’s SEA space division to Thales Alenia Space.

The transaction is one of several either announced or being pursued by larger space-sector companies in Europe and the United States looking to establish a presence in Britain following that government’s substantial increase in space spending. A presence in Britain also gives companies access to the larger European Space Agency and European Union markets.

Cohort said in May that the sale of the SEA space division would be concluded for a minimum cash payment of 5 million British pounds ($7.65 million), with a further payment of 1.5 million pounds payable at the sale’s close pending a review of SEA’s financial health.

The SEA space division reported revenue of 5.1 million pounds and a gross margin of 300,000 pounds for the year ending April 30, 2013. Its financial performance for the year ending April 30, 2014, will be announced with Cohort’s overall results to be published at the end of June.

Cohort said the sale is part of its larger strategy of focusing on its core defense and transport markets. SEA’s space work, based in Bristol, includes onboard components and systems engineering services.

The SEA transaction will be the first for Thales Alenia Space U.K., a company created in April.

Thales Alenia Space competes in Europe with Airbus Defence and Space for satellite system management and production, but Airbus has long had major production facilities in Britain in addition to its ownership of Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, a small-satellite builder. OHB AG of Bremen, Germany, Europe’s third major satellite system prime contractor, is also eyeing opportunities in Britain.

 

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