American aerospace giant Lockheed Martin tonight swooped on one of Scotland’s fastest-growing technology companies in a deal that could be worth tens of millions of pounds.
Amor Group – which provides IT systems for the energy, public service and transport sectors – recently voiced its desire to quadruple turnover to £250 million by 2016.
Chief executive John Innes led a £27.8m management buyout from Paris-listed Sword Group in 2009, which was backed by a consortium of private equity firms, led by Growth Capital Partners, and Scottish Enterprise.
Since then the Inchinnan-based group has grown its revenues from £32m to an expected £63.5m this year and won a string of high-profile contracts from clients including airport operator BAA, NHS Scotland and oil giant Shell.
New York-listed Lockheed Martin has bought out all of Amor’s shareholders, including Growth Capital Partners and management, along with the 22.5 per cent minority stake that had been retained by Sword.
Amor Group had been due to unveil the deal tomorrow but Sword jumped the gun with an announcement tonight.
In April, the Scottish firm – which was formed from Sword’s Pragma and Real Time businesses – lifted the lid on its efforts to find an investor to “create an exit” for Growth Capital Partners and raise £50m for acquisitions.
Turnover rose by 27 per cent in 2012 to £57.2m, with profits increasing by 17 per cent to £8.2m. Amor Group’s overseas contracts have included work for Dubai Airports.
Innes, who will stay with the company for the transition and then become a non-executive advisor, said: “We were at the stage in our life cycle where we were looking at refinancing to support our growth ambitions as well as allow our private equity partners to exit in line with their original investment plans.
“The opportunity to become a part of Lockheed Martin is fantastic, not least because of the remarkable synergies between our cultures and ambitions.
“They offer a strong platform for growth in terms of talent, clients, geographic footprint, offerings and investment. It’s a perfect fit at the right time.”
The deal will double the headcount Lockheed Martin’s “information systems and global solutions” business in the UK to more than 1,000 staff, with a further 200 expected to be added in the next 12 months.
Stephen Ball, Lockheed Martin UK chief executive, added: “This transaction provides opportunities for both Amor Group and Lockheed Martin to grow through innovative IT technology and key international markets.
“Amor Group will be an important addition to our information systems and global solutions business.”
Scottish Enterprise chief executive Lena Wilson said: “This deal secures for Scotland an operation that will continue to grow and provide more highly skilled jobs as it does so.
“It gives us some valuable inward investment by a major player in the global technology market that will help raise Scotland’s profile within the industry worldwide.
“And it provides a healthy return for the public sector investment we made in the Amor Group that will in turn be reinvested in other Scottish businesses’ growth.”