AMS Spring 2023

Redwire’s Acquisition of QinetiQ’s Space Division: a Huge Win for Both

6K SmarTech

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Space infrastructure conglomerate Redwire (NYSE: RDW) will acquire UK security and defense contractor QinetiQ’s space division for €32 million ($31.7 million) in a debt-free purchase. Once the deal is finalized in the fourth quarter of 2022, Redwire will gain access to QinetiQ Space NV’s considerable expertise in space componentry and fast-track its business expansion, particularly in European markets. The move also underpins QinetiQ’s ambitious strategy to focus its business on global defense and security.

A Mutually Beneficial Acquisition

Even though the space domain remains integral to QinetiQ’s core defense and security strategy, Space NV products have only provided limited operational synergies and alignment with its global ambition. As a result, the sale of its Belgium-based space division leaves QinetiQ with better opportunities to focus on other, more compatible endeavors, like the acquisition of Australian defense services company Air Affairs, which was purchased this week for AU$53 million ($34.5 million).

Infographic by QinetiQ Space NV

QinetiQ Space NV’s role in the space economy. Infographic courtesy of QinetiQ Space NV.

For Redwire, Space NV is an attractive and well-positioned business in the commercial space sector with 35 years of mission heritage in orbit. During that time, it delivered the design and integration of small commercial satellites, docking and berthing systems, and instruments for end-to-end space missions to civil and commercial space customers, including the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO).

Under QinetiQ’s ownership, the company delivered a solid operational performance and growth, generating revenue of €49 million ($48.6 million) and €3 million ($2.9 million) in after-taxes profit for the year ended March 31, 2022, as well as a contracted backlog of €113 million ($112.1 million).

Thanks to its independent facilities, management, and operations, Space NV’s core product offerings are expected to enhance Redwire’s scale and innovation capabilities across numerous high-growth space areas, expand its total addressable market, and add more customers, including European space agencies that are increasing their defense and space spending due to the ongoing events in Ukraine. Furthermore, upon closing the transaction, Redwire will use Space NV’s existing management and operational structures and anticipates integrating the companies without disrupting either business.

Redwire CEO Peter Cannito. I

Redwire CEO Peter Cannito. Image courtesy of Redwire.

Commenting on the deal, Redwire’s Chairman and CEO Peter Cannito said Space NV’s values and long history of operating in space and deploying leading space innovations for its customers align perfectly with the “Heritage plus Innovation” motto, which enables a combination of proven performance with new, innovative capabilities.

Redwire Builds its NewSpace Empire

Headquartered in Florida, Redwire, engaged in mission-critical space solutions and reliable components, holds IP for solar power generation and in-space 3D printing and manufacturing. It has gained much traction thanks to its strategy of taking companies that excel in one area to integrate them under a single platform. Before setting its sights on Space NV, Redwire acquired five organizations. One of its earliest acquisitions was Made In Space (MIS), a well-known startup with a track record in the additive sector for creating 3D printers that work in microgravity and had already launched to the International Space Station (ISS). Then it went after Roccor and, in 2021, added Techshot, Deployable Space Systems, and Oakman Aerospace.

Just like the purchase of MIS back in 2020 supported the expansion of Redwire’s portfolio to include in-space manufacturing technologies, the new Space NV takeover will ensure Redwire has instruments, mechanisms, and avionics subsystems for human-crewed space flights and exploration missions, as well as other scientific instruments for research in space.

“Redwire and Space NV together equate to over 100 years of combined history and expertise supporting some of the most stalwart space customers in the world. These deep customer relationships are foundational to our future growth. Together we will accelerate humanity’s expansion into space,” suggested Cannito.

Redwire wants to be the mission partner of choice for civil, commercial, and national security space. Image courtesy of Redwire.

The latest move will allow Redwire to support Space NV to reach its next growth phase while increasing its scale and capabilities. During a call with investors, CFO Jonathan Baliff confirmed that Redwire would finance the transaction through equity-linked financing. Its largest investors, AE Industrial Partners, committed to equity-linked securities, which will significantly strengthen the company’s balance sheet and financial profile. In addition, after closing the deal, Redwire intends to have Space NV’s existing senior leadership, engineering, research and development, and operational structures stay in place and anticipates integrating the companies without disrupting the existing business.

As we enter a new global space race, the new Redwire combination with Space NV will complement an already growing portfolio of space technologies. In addition, the more substantial synergies between the two companies could support Redwire’s mission to develop next-generation space infrastructure. Whether it’s through spacecraft components or revolutionizing outer space architecture with robotic manufacturing and assembling in orbit, collaborations like this could lay the foundations for the future space economy.

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