Saab Grintek buys SA avionics firm

8 December 2005

Afro-Swedish firm Saab Grintek is buying Aerospace Monitoring and Systems (AMS) in a R30-million deal that will give South Africa’s avionics and defence industry increased global exposure while continuing Saab’s expansion into the South African and African markets.

AMS, based in Midrand, Johannesburg, focuses on proprietary aircraft monitoring and recording systems for the global aerospace and defence market. The company boasts a turnover of R58-million, 95% of which is generated by exports – and employs 75 people.

Saab Grintek, a partnership between Kunene Bros Holdings (29.7%) and Saab AB (70.3%), is a high technology group specialising in telecommunications and selected niche opportunities within industrial and defence electronics.

On completion of the deal, AMS will be part of Saab Avitronics, a Saab business unit focusing on avionics and electronic warfare systems, which already has operations in both Sweden and South Africa.

Saab Avitronics announced on Tuesday that it had signed an agreement to acquire AMS, adding that the acquisition, still subject to approval by the regulatory authorities, was likely to be effective by April 2006.

“AMS’s product portfolio and markets fit very well into our avionics business,” Saab Avitronics president Bjorn Erman said in a statement. “Especially in the areas of safety, monitoring and digital recording systems, where together we will be a significant global player.”

AMS CEO Christo Weder said his company was “excited about the excellent strategic fit between our products, markets and cultures, and [we] look forward to expanding our business under the Saab brand”.

Like Saab Avitronics’ current electronic warfare operations in South Africa, AMS will, from a legal point of view, be part of Saab Grintek Defence (Pty) Ltd, which is jointly owned by Saab Grintek (Pty) Ltd and Saab AB.

Saab is one of the world’s leading high technology companies, with its main operations focusing on defense, aviation and space. reporter