Specialist defence firm Ultra Electronics - which has a major facility at Rugeley in Staffordshire - was back on the takeover trail yesterday, snapping up US company Audiopack Technologies in a deal valued at $59.7 million (£34.1 million).
Audiopack, which is based in Cleveland, employs a 120-strong workforce and develops and manufactures voice communications equipment for personnel wearing protective clothing, masks and breathing apparatus in harsh and hazardous environments.
Jon Adams, owner of Audiopack, will continue to run the business under Ultra's ownership.
Audiopack's main customers are in the military and homeland security sectors, together with 'first responders' such as the fire, medical and police services.
Since Mr Adams's buy out of Audiopack in 1995, the business has grown rapidly.
In the year ended December 31 2004, Audiopack notched up sales of $22.1 million (£12.6 million) and made an operating profit of $6.8 million (£3.88 million).
The American company will now operate as Ultra Electronics Audiopack reporting to Rakesh Sharma, managing director of Ultra's Tactical & Sonar Systems division.
Douglas Caster, chief executive of Ultra, said: " Audiopack is an excellent acquisition for Ultra, with its broad product portfolio, worldleading technologies and excellent relationships with key customers in the US and worldwide.
"The business has strong positions in growing market niches that are complementary to Ultra's existing communications and battlespace IT activities.
"Acquisitions such as this demonstrate Ultra's commitment to invest profitably the cash that it generates in order to deliver growth, either in existing businesses or by acquiring businesses which complement and broaden the Group's portfolio of products and capabilities."
Meanwhile, Mansell, the Midlands-based construction and property services subsidiary of Balfour Beatty, has landed a contract to redevelop accommodation facilities for United States Air Force staff and their families at RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk.
The first phase of the fiveyear contract is valued at £14.5 million, while the entire contract has a potential value of £127 million, it said.