Fairbanks Morse Defense eyes more acquisitions

by Marc Selinger

Welin Lambie, which Fairbanks Morse Defense acquired in 2021, designs and manufactures crane-like davits that launch and recover boats from ships or shore-based installations. (Welin Lambie)

Fairbanks Morse Defense (FMD), which has purchased a host of companies during the past 13 months, is still in the acquisition market, according to the US naval supplier's chief executive officer George Whittier.

“We're always talking to folks” about potential acquisitions, Whittier told Janes in an interview. “It won't surprise me if we do a couple more [deals] in 2022.”

FMD is particularly interested in companies that could benefit from its extensive service capabilities. “For example, we wouldn't necessarily buy a company that makes doors or hatches because you don't really do a lot of maintenance on doors and hatches,” Whittier said.

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New CEO to prepare Sparton to end sonobuoy joint venture

by Marc Selinger

ERAPSCO, a joint venture between Sparton Corporation and Ultra Electronics, makes sonobuoys for the US Navy. (ERAPSCO)

At US naval electronic systems producer Sparton Corporation, a priority for its new chief executive officer (CEO) is preparing the company for a shift in how it supplies sonobuoys, one of its main products, to a key customer.

Sparton and UK-based Ultra Electronics have been producing sonobuoys for the US Navy (USN) through a 35-year-old joint venture (JV) called the Expendable Reliable Acoustic Path Sonobuoy Company (ERAPSCO). However, in response to the US Department of Justice's concerns about a lack of competition for the air-launched, submarine-tracking devices, Sparton and Ultra are supposed to dissolve the JV and begin bidding for USN sonobuoy contracts separately.

“That's going to be sea change for us as we move forward,” said Tracy Howard, who became Sparton's president and CEO in December 2021. “We're working through that with the navy now. Ultimately, we're both going to be needed by the navy to supply the volume of the sonobuoys they need,” he added.

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Israel, Bahrain sign defence collaboration MoU

by Charles Forrester

Bahrain's Minister of Defense Affairs H.E. Lieutenant General Abdullah Bin Hassan Al Noaimi (left) and Israeli Minister of Defence Benny Gantz signing a defence co-operation memorandum of understanding on 3 February 2022. (Israeli Ministry of Defence/Ariel Hermoni)

Israel and Bahrain have signed a defence collaboration memorandum of understanding (MoU) during a visit by Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz to the Gulf kingdom on 3 February.

According to a release by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the MoU framework will support intelligence sharing, military-to-military co-operation, defence industrial collaboration, and more.

“We have reached new heights today in Israel-Bahrain relations with the important meetings that took place and with the signing of the historic MoU. We are building on the groundbreaking Abraham Accords and deepening ties between our nations. Only one year following the signing of the [Abraham] Accords, we have achieved an important defence agreement, which will contribute to the security of both countries and the stability of the region,” Gantz said in a statement.

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Escribano buys back Omani stake in the company

by David Ing

Spanish systems company Escribano Mechanical and Engineering (EM&E) has repurchased the 32.2% stake it sold to the Omani State General Reserve Fund (SGRF) in 2016.

A spokesperson for the company confirmed the deal on 2 February, but declined to say why the move had been made, other than pointing out that it had served to return the company to 100% Spanish private ownership, in the hands of the founding brothers Javier Escribano, the president, and Angel Escribano.

He also would not give a price on the buy back, although national business press reports suggest it is around EUR34 million (USD39 million), valuing the company as a whole at around EUR104 million.

SGRF bought into the Spanish company in 2016 for EUR18 million, with Escribano saying at the time it was looking for a financial partner to help it expand.

Among the company's main contracts is providing 12.7 mm and 30 mm weapons systems for Spain's new 8×8 armoured infantry fighting vehicle (IFV), the Dragón.

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Fairbanks Morse Defense (FMD), which has purchased a host of companies during the past 13 months, is...

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