Aerospace communications company Cobham plc can hold a
conversation in space and in the depths of the ocean. Serving
customers in more than a hundred countries, Cobham provides
communication and connectivity technology for use in demanding
environments like space, air, on land, in warzones and at sea. The
company provides high-reliability electronics, antenna subsystems,
satellite and radio, and media link-up. It also sells air-to-air
refuelling systems, aircraft oxygen, cooling, and escape systems;
and weapons carriage/release systems. Its aviation services
provides maintenance, modification, and training services for
military aircraft and crews.
Cobham operates four business units: Communications and
Connectivity, Mission Systems, Advanced Electronic Solutions and
The Communications and Connectivity segment, the largest of the
four at over 35% of total sales, provides aircraft and
communication equipment; satellite communication equipment for
land, sea and air, and test and measurement instrumentation for
radio frequency, cellular communications and wireless
Mission Systems, which brings in around 20% of revenue, makes
safety and survival systems for extreme environments, nose-to-tail
aerial refuelling systems and wing-tip to wing-tip mission systems
for fast jets, transport aircraft and rotorcraft. It also makes
remote-controlled bomb disposal robots.
Advanced Electronic Solutions makes off-the-shelf and customized
communication systems for land, at sea, air and space applications;
products include radio frequency, microwave, and high reliability
microelectronics, antenna subsystems and motion control solutions.
This encompasses defense, wireless/mobile and fixed broadband, and
X-ray imaging. The segment accounts for over a quarter total
Aviation Services, representing around 20% of total sales,
delivers outsourced military aviation training, outsourced
commercial aviation, and fly-in-fly-out services to the natural
resources industry and aircraft engineering.
UK-based Cobham rings up nearly half of its sales in the US, and
has manufacturing operations in the UK, the US and continental
Sales and Marketing
Cobham serves markets such as defence, specialist aviation
services, aerospace, wireless, and space. Its commercial market
alone accounted for 38% of sales in fiscal 2015. US
Defense/Security accounts for around 36% and non-US defense market
accounts for over 25%.
Note: Growth rates may differ after conversion to US
In 2015, sales grew 12% on prior year to £2.0 billion due to the
contribution of the acquired Aeroflex business, the operations of
which have been spread across Advanced Electronics and
Communications and Connectivity. Both segments saw negative organic
Net income fell again, down £67 million to £37.8 million as a
result of an increase in administration costs relating to the
Aeroflex deal. Cash from operating activities was up 13% to £189.1
Cobham is balancing its commercial and military activities after
an over-reliance on military-related sales emerged. The group is
now targeting technologies that has applications in both fields,
and to that end in 2014 it acquired US specialist communications
equipment firm Aeroflex. However, the deal has so far been more
trouble that it's worth after Asian demand stalled for the formerly
Aeroflex's wireless products, and the company was hurt by
difficulties in oil and gas industries.
In 2015, Cobham hived off its to advanced composites business to
UK firm Meggitt for $200 million.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Cobham acquired US specialist communications equipment firm
Aeroflex in 2014 for $1.5 billion, the largest acquisition in the
company's history by a significant margin. The acquisition is hoped
to diversify Cobham's customer base and product suite.