Qinetiq jumps the hurdles

Despite a squeeze in MoD funding, the technology group has won alternative markets and a 38 per cent profits rise.


Growth in three key areas helped UK-based global technology group Qinetiq to deliver a strong set of annual results.

Repositioning within UK MoD programmes, expansion of the group’s US presence and the successful commercialisation of defence technologies contributed to a 23 per cent increase in turnover and a 38 per cent increase in profit to £90.7m.

Qinetiq’s move into alternative markets helped mitigate the losses incurred through increased competition for MoD research funding. The MoD is phasing out the amount of work that is guaranteed to Qinetiq and by 2008 all elements of the UK military’s research programme will be fully opened to competition.

The company said it has been able to offset the impact of this by boosting its position in the defence technology supply chain as a partner or subcontractor. It has managed to achieve a 28 per cent growth in business in this area.

Expansion in the US came on the back of three acquisitions: Apogen Technologies — an IT specialist working predominantly with the US DoD and Homeland Security department; Planning Systems — a technology firm; and Ocean Systems Engineering, all of which operate in specific growth markets, according to the UK group.

Qinetiq was also helped by the selection of its electric drive technology for the US Future Combat Systems (FCS) tracked vehicle demonstrator programme and by a research contract into optical tagging from Darpa. As a result, US turnover rocketed to £248m from £70m in 2005.

Security and Dual Use (S&DU), Qinetiq’s third main operating sector, achieved an 11 per cent increase in turnover to £134m driven by a strong performance from its security business, which continued to make progress in both government and commercial markets. There was a positive contribution from the new European space business Verhaert, which the company claimed more than offset a decline in UK government funding for space research. S&DU also secured a contract to replace the UK police’s information portal system and completed the first sale for the Tarsier venture — its radar technology designed to detect debris on runways.

Sir John Chisholm, Qinetiq’s chief executive, said: ‘In the UK we have grown our technology supply business to mitigate the impact of increased competition for MoD research funding, seen good organic growth and further acquisition in the US, and significant progression in the commercialisation of defence technology during the year.’

According to Chisholm, during the coming year the company will continue its repositioning strategy within its defence business. New business opportunities are anticipated in North America as more US companies work closely with partners in the UK.