TAMPA, Fla. — British defense company Qinetiq is selling its Belgian commercial satellite systems division to Redwire, a U.S.-based space infrastructure consolidator.
Redwire said Oct. 3 that it plans to buy QinetiQ Space, which supplies small satellites and other instruments for end-to-end European space missions, for 32 million euros ($31.4 million). .
This is Redwire’s first acquisition in nearly a year since buying a biotech company Techshot in November — months after going public to raise a war chest for further transactions.
Founded by private equity firm AE Industrial Partners in June 2020, Redwire has grown a diversified space technology business by acquiring other companies. These include space manufacturing company Made In Space and Deployable Space Systems, which develops spacecraft structures and solar arrays.
Despite poor macro conditions, Redwire Chairman and CEO Pete Cannito said the company continues to have an appetite for acquisitions.
“We are entering a decades-long space competition with China and Russia,” Cannito said. SpaceNews by email.
“As a result, despite a negatively trending macroeconomic environment across the economy, demand for space capabilities from U.S. and international governments remains strong.”
A difficult macroeconomic environment could also bring more troubled companies to the trading table.
Redwire’s strategic focus areas include orbital servicing and manufacturing, digital design spacecraft, and space domain awareness.
In September 2021, Redwire became a public company by merging with Genesis Park Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company, to fuel new acquisitions.
However, aside from its takeover of Techshot and the proposed takeover of QinetiQ Space, the group has remained silent on the acquisition front since its listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
“Inorganic growth has always been part of Redwire’s strategy,” Cannito said.
“We’ve taken the time to stop going public before moving on to our next major acquisition.”
Following a wave of investment in the wider space industry in recent years, investors have recently raised concerns on the amount of capital raised and valuations of space companies, including those listed on the stock exchange through SPAC mergers.
The acquisition of QinetiQ Space “will provide additional revenue diversity, a broader addressable market, and deeper relationships with international customers,” Cannito added, and resulted in “a reasonable valuation to enhance Redwire’s resiliency, regardless of regardless of future macro-economic uncertainty”.
QinetiQ focuses on domestic markets
The Belgian QinetiQ Space recorded 49 million euros in turnover for the year to the end of March and three million euros in profit after tax. The company has an order book of €113 million for core products including advanced payloads, small satellite technology, docking and docking equipment and space instruments.
Redwire said the purchase would increase its exposure to European customers, including the European Space Agency and the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO).
QinetiQ, headquartered in Farnborough, England, said the sale of the Belgian company would strengthen its focus on its three home countries: the UK, the US and Australia.
QinetiQ also announced plans on Oct. 3 to buy Air Affairs, an Australian defense services company, for A$53 million ($35 million).
In August, QinetiQ announced that it had agreed to buy Avantus, a US provider of cyber solutions, data analytics and software development, in a deal valued at $590 million.
Redwire expects to complete its acquisition of QinetiQ Space later this year, after the usual approvals.