British Technology Firm to Go Public

PARIS ?? British defense and space technology company QinetiQ Group
plc expects to raise 150 million British pounds ($265 million) in gross
proceeds following a planned February introduction of shares on the
London Stock Exchange, the company announced Jan. 12.
 
QinetiQ??s two principal shareholders ??
the British government and The Carlyle Group, a private-equity company
?? will sell part of their existing stakes in QinetiQ at the same time
as the initial public offering.
 
Britain??s state secretary for defence,
John Reid, notified Parliament Jan. 12 that the government was reducing
its stake in Farnborough, England-based QinetiQ in a continuation of a
privatization policy for defense research companies that began in 1998.
 
QinetiQ was formed in 2001 with the
government as sole owner. In early 2003, the U.S.-based Carlyle Group
purchased 51 percent of the voting shares in QinetiQ as a start to the
company??s full privatization.
 
In his statement to Parliament, Reid said
the British government will retain ?¨a significant stake?Æ in QinetiQ and
?¨will also retain a special share in the company to ensure that the
U.K.??s defence interests are safeguarded.?Æ
 
QinetiQ has been widening its product
range to include civil and military space technologies. The company is
system prime contractor for the British government??s TopSat Earth
observation satellite, launched in October 2005, and is also a regular
contractor to the European Space Agency.
 
QinetiQ reported an operating profit,
before exceptional items, of 69.3 million British pounds on revenues of
872.4 million pounds for the fiscal year ending in March 2005. Profit
was up 28 percent, and revenue increased by 10 percent, compared to the
previous year.
 
Credit Suisse First Boston
Europe Ltd., JPMorgan Cazenove Ltd. and Merrill Lynch International are
representing QinetiQ, the British government and Carlyle for the
stock-market introduction.
 
(Credits SpaceNews) 


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