Redwire returns to acquisitions with deal for QinetiQ Space

TAMPA, Fla. — British defense company Qinetiq is selling its commercial satellite systems division in Belgium to Redwire, a US-based space infrastructure remediation company.

Redwire said Oct. 3 it plans to buy QinetiQ Space, which supplies small satellites and other instruments for European end-to-end space missions, for 32 million euros ($31.4 million).

It’s Redwire’s first acquisition in nearly a year since it bought a biotech company Techshot in November a few months after going public to raise a war chest for further deals.

Formed by private equity firm AE Industrial Partners in June 2020, Redwire has built a diverse space technology business by acquiring other companies. These include aerospace manufacturing company Made In Space and Deployable Space Systems, which develops spacecraft structures and solar arrays.

Despite poor macroeconomic conditions, Redwire President and CEO Pete Cannito said the company continues to have an appetite for acquisitions.

“We are entering a multi-decade space competition with China and Russia,” Cannito said SpaceNews via email.

“As a result, despite the negative macro-environment across the spectrum of the economy, demand for space capabilities from both US participants and international governments remains strong.”

A difficult macroeconomic environment could also bring more distressed companies to the deal table.

Redwire’s strategic focus areas include orbit servicing and construction, digitally engineered spacecraft, and space awareness.

In September 2021, Redwire became a public company by merging with Genesis Park Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company, to fuel further acquisitions.

However, apart from the Techshot deal and the plan to buy QinetiQ Space, the group has been quiet on the acquisition front since it went public on the New York Stock Exchange.

“Inorganic growth has always been part of the Redwire strategy.” Cannito said.

“We took the time to pause to go public before moving on to our next big acquisition.”

After a wave of investment in the broader 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 stock exchanges through SPAC mergers.

The acquisition of QinetiQ Space “will provide additional revenue diversification, a larger addressable market and deeper relationships with international customers,” Cannito added, concluding “a fair valuation to strengthen Redwire’s resilience regardless of future macroeconomic uncertainty.”

QinetiQ to focus on domestic markets

Belgium-based QinetiQ Space recorded €49m in revenue for the year to the end of March and €3m in profit after tax. The company has a backlog of €113 million for core products that include advanced payloads, small satellite technology, docking and docking equipment and space instruments.

Redwire said the purchase will increase its exposure to European clients, including the European Space Agency and the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO).

Farnborough, England-based QinetiQ said the sale of the Belgian company will strengthen its focus on its three home countries: the UK, 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 said 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 close the QinetiQ Space acquisition later this year, subject to customary approvals.

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