Cobham disposes of countermeasures unit

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The Independent Online

Cobham, the UK defence and aerospace group, made further progress on its restructuring programme yesterday by selling off its countermeasures division for £47m.

The buyer, which has operations in Britain, the US and Italy and specialises in anti-missile systems for military aircraft, is Esterline Technologies of the US.

The move came as Cobham announced plans to sell off three composite materials businesses and consolidate its remaining activities in this area into two sites compared with five at present.

The proceeds from the countermeasures disposal, which are bigger than the market had expected, will help Cobham expand in the high-growth defence and aerospace areas it identified last year as part of a group-wide strategic review.

Allan Cook, the chief executive, said the group could spend £350m this year acquiring new businesses. Last year it spent £189m on acquisitions. It reported a 17 per cent rise in underlying pre-tax profits to £167m last year on sales of £1bn, and a 24 per cent increase in the order book to £1.8bn.

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