Cobham snaps up Thrane and Thrane but UK jobs to go

Posted on 4 May 2012

Aerospace and defence group Cobham has acquired mobile communication firm Thrane & Thrane in a £275m deal.

Cobham, through its subsidiary Lockman Electronic Holdings, submitted a voluntary public offer for the acquisition of all shares in Thrane & Thrane after identifying the Danish firm as an ideal partner.

After having an offer rejected in March, Cobham has picked up shares in Thrane and Thrane before coming back to the table with an increased offer.

Cobham has worked with Thrane & Thrane in the satellite communications (SATCOM) market for many years and has been in discussions for the last year with a view to a combine the two businesses.

Cobham said in a statement that the combined operation would increase technology advantage and scale in maritime, land and airborne SATCOM systems. Routes to market for the two businesses would be combined so that the group can improve its offering for the highly competitive integrated solutions with equipment. Cobham reported that the business would be able to extend its international reach through a combined dealer network.

Cobham intends to strengthen the existing engineering centre of excellence in Denmark to focus on and accelerate the marketing and development of the next generation of products.

Once 100% ownership of Thrane & Thrane has been achieved, management responsibility for the combined maritime SATCOM business would be transferred to Thrane & Thrane in Denmark. The combined business would include Cobham’s largest SATCOM business unit which produces the SeaTel product line, which has a site in Southampton, UK.

John Devaney, Cobham’s executive chairman said: “We are very pleased that, by increasing our offer to take account of the dividend for the year now ended, we have reached agreement with the Board of Thrane & Thrane. We believe that this is an outstanding opportunity to bring together two highly complementary, commercially focused SATCOM businesses and is in line with our aim of prioritising investment that will bring more balance between our defence and commercial markets.”

In the firm’s tactical military communications systems division, Cobham Defence Electronic Systems, 55 people have been sacked at its site in Blackburn.

Cobham Defence Electronic Systems designs and manufactures Vehicle Intercom Systems (ROVIS), a core element of C4ISR and battlefield digitisation programs for armed forces around the world.

The businesses operations will be moved to Hampshire with those in charge of the factory which employs 79 people, attributing the closure to large defence spending cuts in the US.