The European defence giant buys a chunk of a niche local player as the race to win a R27 million tender heats up.EADS Defence and Security (EADS) has taken a 25% shareholding in Fulcrum Defence Systems (FDS), one of the three short-listed bidders for Project Legend, the SA Army`s R27 million command-and-control system tender.
Although neither EADS nor FDS gave the deal a financial value, industry sources believe it was in the R20 million-range. The investment will see the Pretoria-based company become the local home of EADS` command-and-control (C2) systems expertise.
“This deal is another clear sign of our commitment to be a long-term player in the [South African] defence market… besides previous investments in Reutech Radar Systems (RRS) and Grintek Ewation,” says Hervé Guillou, CEO of EADS defence and communications systems, the ‘systems house` of EADS DS.
“We have found the perfect partner, and we are confident that together we will deliver world-class technologies to the African defence market.”
“C2 is an important and strategic domain for the South African defence forces and we are confident this local-based joint venture will empower us to be a reliable supplier of high-technology to fulfil the South African defence requirements,” says FDS CEO, André Wolmarans.
Blackstar Holdings chairman George Ramaremisa also gave the deal the thumbs-up. “BlackStar welcomes EADS Defence and Security on board FDS as a partner. We believe that due to this joint venture, FDS will be well-positioned in the strategic market segment of C2,” he adds.
The Fulcrum Group retains a 35% share in FDS, while Blackstar holds 40%.
EADS is keen to capture the Legend tender, as it will determine the SA Army`s C2 ICT infrastructure for at least the next 10 years. Sources close to the project say EADS is on the shortlist in competition with French-owned African Defence Systems (ADS) and Saab Grintek, partnered with Cybersim. It is not known when the winning tender will be announced.
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