Leonardo, the Italian defence and aerospace group, has announced that it will not participate in the potential capital increase of Hensoldt, the German defence electronics company, but will continue to support its strategic vision and partnership.
Hensoldt, which is partly owned by Leonardo and the German state, plans to acquire ESG, a German military service firm, for at least 675 million euros. The capital increase, which could be up to 10%, would partially finance the deal.
The European partnership project with Hensoldt is a joint effort by several European infrared (IR) manufacturers and system integrators to develop and produce high-performance IR sensors for future defence systems.
Leonardo said that it does not intend to subscribe for the new shares, which would dilute its stake in Hensoldt from 25.1% to 22.6%. However, it added that it remains committed to the European partnership project with Hensoldt, which aims to pursue greater collaboration and integration in the fields of defence electronics and security in Europe.
The German government, which also holds 25.1% of Hensoldt through the state bank KfW, has indicated that it would subscribe to a quarter of the new shares in order to maintain its blocking minority. Hensoldt’s chief financial officer Christian Ladurner said that the capital increase should be carried out “sooner rather than later”.
The acquisition of ESG, which is expected to close in the second quarter of 2024, would strengthen Hensoldt’s position as a leading provider of sensor solutions and services for the defence and security markets. ESG offers a range of services, such as electronic warfare, cyber security, and simulation.
Leonardo and Hensoldt have been working together on several projects, such as the Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft, the Eurodrone unmanned aerial vehicle, and the European MALE RPAS (Medium Altitude Long Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft System).
Leonardo said that it fully supports Hensoldt’s plans to buy ESG and that it is confident that the transaction will create value for both companies and their shareholders.
The acquisition of ESG by Hensoldt would benefit Hensoldt in several ways, such as:
- It would strengthen Hensoldt’s position as a leading provider of sensor solutions and services for the defence and security markets.
- It would enhance Hensoldt’s capabilities in key technologies, such as electronic warfare, cyber security, and simulation.
- It would create synergies and value for both companies and their shareholders.
- It would support Hensoldt’s sustainability objectives and ESG strategy.
Meanwhile, Hensoldt, recently announced the opening of its new offices in Stellenbosch, South Africa, which will serve as the hub of its spectrum management operations.
The new offices, which were inaugurated on 16 November, are located in the vibrant Stellenbosch area, close to Stellenbosch University, one of the country’s top academic institutions. The offices feature modern facilities and equipment, as well as a dynamic training space for Hensoldt South Africa’s clients.
The company is collaborating with BAE Systems, a global defence and aerospace company, on the development of the Striker II helmet-mounted display (HMD) for the Royal Air Force’s Typhoon fighter jets.
The Striker II HMD is a state-of-the-art system that combines an all-digital night vision system, a daylight-readable colour display, and an augmented reality interface that overlays mission-critical data onto the pilot’s helmet visor. The system also features next-generation night vision technology, an optional 3D audio system, and a battle-proven target tracking technology.