Booming defence sales helps Ultra protect its independence

Ultra Electronics Holdings put in a solid set of results for the first half of the year as a result of rising defence sales, increased Airbus production and a number of recent acquisitions. Pre-tax profits rose slightly on turnover up 12% to a record £107m. The firm, a buyout from Dowty six years ago, saw […]

Ultra Electronics Holdings put in a solid set of results for the first half of the year as a result of rising defence sales, increased Airbus production and a number of recent acquisitions. Pre-tax profits rose slightly on turnover up 12% to a record £107m.

The firm, a buyout from Dowty six years ago, saw strong demand for its sonobuoys, which are used to detect submarines.

Chief executive Dr Julian Blogh said the company will stay focused on the defence market, which makes up around 70% of its business. `Even when defence spending was being cut heavily in the early 1990s, our strategy was to stay in the defence market.’

A series of acquisitions – including the £44m takeover of defence software and information technology company DF Group in April – resulted in a restructuring of Ultra into two divisions. Sales in the Air & Land Systems division rose 15% to £74.4m, while sales in Information & Sea Systems were up 6% to £32.7m.

Further acquisitions are unlikely over the coming year Blogh said: `We have had a fairly frantic pace, with four over the last 20 months. I really think we need to absorb those now.’

He added that, despite increasing consolidation in the global defence sector, Ultra was better off as an independent company.

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