Monday, July 16, 2018

Maxar Technologies Has Just Bought the Neptec Design Group for $42Mln CDN

        By Henry Stewart

Brampton, ON based MDA, the Canadian subsidiary of the Denver CO based  Maxar Technologies, a company once known as Richmond BC based MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates, has acquired Kanata ON based Neptec Design Group, in a deal valued at $42Mln CDN.

As outlined in the July 16th, 2018 Maxar Technologies press release, "Maxar Technologies' MDA Announces Acquisition of Neptec Design Group, a Leading Space Sensors Company in Canada and the United Kingdom," $8Mln CDN will be paid out in cash, with the balance paid out in Maxar common shares.

According to the press release:
With Neptec, MDA will deliver end-to-end robotic systems and an expanded set of solutions, positioning the company to capture growth in US, Canadian and global space exploration markets and accelerate advancement into new and expanding space segments. 
The transaction is accretive to Maxar's operating earnings per share beginning in 2019, solidifies MDA's leadership in space robotics innovation, and reinforces Maxar's industry-leading space capabilities.
According to MDA group president Mike Greenly, the acquisition "provides a tremendous opportunity to advance and grow MDA and Neptec internationally, develop powerful new technologies and drive future economies."

"The Neptec team is well-established in the industry, and this investment represents an important strategic opportunity to offer broader solutions for the growing space exploration market," he said.

Of course, several commentators have also mentioned that, while the deal adds new technologies to the already impressive Maxar robotics portfolio, it also further consolidates an already shaky and possibly shrinking domestic industry around a single, foreign owned player.

The truth may need to wait for the expected release of the latest of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) State of the Canadian Space Sector report. The newest report (covering the year 2016) should be released sometime this summer.

As for Neptec...

Founded in 1990, the privately owned Neptec Design Group provided "machine vision solutions for space, industrial, and military applications" to NASA for 3D imaging, light detection and ranging (LIDAR) and triangulation and LIDAR automated rendezvous and docking (TRIDAR) technologies which controlled the various Canadarms attached to US space shuttles and the International Space Station (ISS).

Neptec currently employs approximately 100 people in Kanata and the UK and recently won a series of contracts with the CSA worth several million dollars in total. The company says that the new contracts will help it develop the next generation of cameras and sensors.

It will be missed.

Henry Stewart is the pseudonym of a Toronto based aerospace writer. 

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