Anti-grenade net helps Qinetiq beat first-half forecasts

Strong orders for a device that protects vehicles from rocket-propelled grenades have helped the defence technology specialist Qinetiq beat first-half expectations.

The group, which also makes bomb-disposal robots, said its global products business had been boosted by two major orders – both almost complete – for Q-Net, a type of cage made of webbing which is fitted around vehicles to protect them from RPGs.

Qinetiq, which was formerly the Government's military gadget maker, said its UK services unit had performed well during the past six months and that it was seeing heavy demand for spare parts for products across this range. But that was partially offset by its American business.

Although the US is still the world's biggest market for weapons, it is trying to cut $487bn (£300bn) from its defence budget. As a result, Qinetiq said it was experiencing "considerable uncertainties in the federal services market and ongoing delays in contract awards".

It added: "A large number of submitted bids remain unresolved." Some of these, Qinetiq admitted, were unlikely to be decided until January, when Congress will finally decide on a further $500bn of military spending cuts.

But the company still thinks it will "at least" meet City expectations for the year, and the shares rose 11.1p to 182.9p yesterday.

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