(Dulles, VA 4 March 2010) -- Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB), one of the world’s leading space technology companies, today announced that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire the spacecraft development and manufacturing business of General Dynamics Corporation’s (NYSE: GD) subsidiary, GD Advanced Information Systems. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in approximately four weeks. Houlihan Lokey advised Orbital in conjunction with this transaction.
The acquisition will enhance Orbital’s already-established position in the growing market for national security space systems, including spacecraft used in intelligence and surveillance, missile tracking, space situational awareness and other operational defense missions. The combination will also substantially strengthen the company’s capabilities to design and manufacture Earth science, weather and climate monitoring, and space-based astronomy satellite systems. By adding advanced medium-class spacecraft platforms to Orbital’s existing small-satellite product line, it is expected to significantly expand the company’s opportunities to serve customers in the U.S. Department of Defense, intelligence community and civil government agencies such as NASA and NOAA.
“There is a compelling strategic fit between Orbital’s current satellite business and the General Dynamics spacecraft unit in terms of the markets and customers we serve, the types of satellite platforms we design and build, and the highly skilled and experienced engineering, manufacturing and operations professionals we count on to make this possible,” said Mr. David W. Thompson, Orbital’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “I am very excited to add the technological know-how and practical experience of the GD satellite team to our company,” he added.
Over the last 20 years, General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems (including a predecessor company, Spectrum Astro, Inc.) has developed and built 15 small- and medium-class satellites for the U.S. Air Force, NASA, U.S. Navy, Missile Defense Agency (MDA), and other government and commercial customers. These include such recently-launched spacecraft as the Fermi/GLAST astronomy satellite for NASA, the C/NOFS space weather satellite for the Air Force, the GeoEye-1 commercial imaging satellite for GeoEye, Inc., and the NFIRE experimental satellite for MDA. These satellites have typically ranged from 500 to 4,000 Kg in initial mass and have been designed for operational lifetimes of three to seven years in a variety of low-Earth orbits.
General Dynamics’ spacecraft unit is located in Gilbert, Arizona, 10 miles from Orbital’s launch vehicle engineering and manufacturing facilities in Chandler, where the company currently employs approximately 1,300 people. Upon closing of the acquisition, about 325 new employees will join Orbital, most of whom are engineers, technicians and program managers, many with security clearances for sensitive U.S. Government programs.
As part of the transaction, Orbital will also acquire a state-of-the-art 135,000 square foot space systems manufacturing, integration and test facility that is one of the most modern and capable in the world, providing additional satellite manufacturing capacity to accommodate Orbital’s anticipated growth for many years to come. Completed in 2005, this facility includes specialized thermal-vacuum, acoustic, vibration, shock and electromagnetic testing chambers and equipment, together with government-certified security provisions for high-classification programs.
Orbital develops and manufactures small- and medium-class rockets and space systems for commercial, military and civil government customers. The company’s primary products are satellites and launch vehicles, including low-Earth orbit, geosynchronous-Earth orbit and planetary exploration spacecraft for communications, remote sensing, scientific and defense missions; human-rated space systems for Earth-orbit, lunar and other missions; ground- and air-launched rockets that deliver satellites into orbit; and missile defense systems that are used as interceptor and target vehicles. Orbital also provides satellite subsystems and space-related technical services to U.S. Government agencies and laboratories.
“Safe Harbor” Statement
Certain statements in this press release, including statements related to our market and product strategies; financial outlook and goals; operational plans and objectives; and industry forecasts and trends, may be forward-looking in nature or “forward-looking statements” as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements are subject to risks, trends, assumptions and uncertainties that could cause the actual results or performance of the company to be materially different from the forward-looking statement. Uncertainty surrounding factors such as continued government support and funding for key space and defense programs, new product development programs, product performance and market acceptance of products and technologies, government contract procurement and termination risks, as well as other risk factors and business considerations described in the company’s SEC filings, including its annual report on Form 10-K, could impact Orbital’s actual financial and operational results. Orbital assumes no obligation for updating the information contained in this report.
More information about Orbital can be found at http://www.orbital.com
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