Take a fresh look at your lifestyle.

Fury as Kwasi backs £2.6bn sale of British defense firm Ultra to Advent

0

Fury as Kwasi backs £2.6bn sale of British defense firm Ultra to Advent as US private equity giant gives security guarantees

One of Britain’s top defense companies came a step closer to foreign ownership last night after the government backed the controversial £2.6bn takeover.

Ultra Electronics – which makes sonobuoys for hunting submarines – is picked up by US private equity predators Advent International.

It follows Cobham’s £4 billion acquisition by Advent in 2020 that led to the breakup of Britain’s historic defense group.

Hunted: Ultra Electronics – which makes sonobuoys for hunting submarines – is picked up by US private equity predators Advent International

Advent now buys Ultra through what’s left of Cobham.

And despite Cobham’s fate and Ultra’s strategic importance to Britain, Secretary of State Kwasi Kwarteng said he would “heartily accept” the deal.

Whitehall officials have confirmed that parties involved in the deal have made commitments to protect national security.

They include the creation of two companies to cover Ultra’s most sensitive work in the UK, each of which will have a state-approved board director.

It has also been confirmed that ministers will have ‘strong entry rights’, akin to a ‘special share’, allowing the government to secure the future transfer of ownership.

And they are given powers to access Ultra’s intellectual property.

Cobham Chair Shonnel Malani said: ‘We have always been clear about our unwavering commitment to ensuring the UK’s national security is protected and believe that these very comprehensive and robust ventures will do just that.’

But the decision sparked a backlash from senior MPs fearing the erosion of Britain’s defense sector.

Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said he “don’t understand why they aren’t blocking it”.

leading the world

Ultra Electronics is a world leader in sonar, radar and torpedo technologies.

It provides mission-critical solutions to the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing partnership of the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

It was originally founded in 1920 and has 4,500 employees. The sonar systems are used on ships and aircraft to hunt submarines and patrol British waters.

The ‘sonobuoys’ can be dropped from helicopters and planes to help detect objects in the ocean

He told the Mail: ‘How do we build capacity if we move it elsewhere?

‘We need that here in the field of defense and technology. And we used to. But over the past two decades, we’ve let go of so much and it’s time we sorted that out.’

Tory MP Bob Seely, who serves on the influential foreign affairs selection committee, said: “We need to strike a balance between being an attractive and open economy, and protecting intellectual property, our industrial base and sensitive defense companies. on the other.

“I’m not sure we have that balance quite right yet.”

Over the weekend, Lady Cobham, the daughter-in-law of Cobham founder Sir Alan Cobham, warned in the Mail on Sunday that the UK is ‘auctioning’ its high-tech companies such as Ultra, Inmarsat and Meggitt.

She said “no one should be fooled” by the fact that Cobham is presiding over the acquisition – as the ultimate owner is a private equity firm.

Tory grandee Lord Heseltine, who previously criticized Kwarteng for abandoning Britain’s industrial strategy, said the tough pledges finally showed “a ray of sanity.”

Advertisement

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.