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Defence contracts help fuel Petards optimism.

Byline: Peter McCusker

THREE-YEAR contracts to provide radio equipment and engineering skills to the Ministry of Defence could help add pounds 5m to a Gateshead company's revenue and is fuelling the growing optimism in the business.

The latest two contract awards for stock-market listed Petards are further evidence of its recovery and follows on from a pounds 2.5m contract win with the MoD to protect British helicopters just weeks ago.

In 2008 Petards saw trading in its shares suspended as it looked to secure bank funding but this was resolved in late December, and since then it has recorded its first profit on annual sales of pounds 19m.

A spokesman said: "The two latest contracts follow previous deals with the MoD, but the fact that the new ones have been awarded for three years as opposed to one testify to the growing strength of the company."

Petards chief executive Bill Conn added: "The award of these orders demonstrates the broad capability held by the group and recognition by the S their require-ments.The latest contract will see Petards supply MoD units and establishments with private mobile radio equipment, ancillaries and engineering services.

The contract is for an initial period of three years with the MoD having the option to extend by a further two years.

The company spokesman added: "It is a follow-on from a previous contract for the supply of similar equipment and services which expired earlier this year and for which Petards was the existing supplier.

"Revenues arising from the new contract are anticipated to be in excess of pounds 1m per annum over the contract term.

"As well as supplying commercially available equipment, the contract also utilises Petards'' design engineering skills to identify and supply solutions to complex military communications requirements."

The MoD has also recently awarded Petards another order worth in the region of pounds 0.3m to make available specialist engineering resources over a three-year period, with the option of a further extension of up to three years.

And in July the AIM-listed firm won a pounds 2.5m-plus deal to supply electronic countermeasures on military helicopters to help protect them from ground-launched missiles.

As well as military support equipment Petards is also a leader in the manufacture and supply of onboard digital CCTV systems for trains and buses.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 14, 2009
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