The FINANCIAL — Aero Sekur, one of Europe’s biggest producers of special fabrics and rubber technologies for the worlds of defence, space and aviation, is launching its first mini-bond worth a total of 5 million euros.
The mini-bond will have a three-year term and a 5.75% annual return. The placement period will run from July 25 to August 25, while the date of issue and settlement will be August 26, 2016.
Banca Promos Spa is acting as financial advisor and arranger for Aero Sekur.
The operation will help finance the three-year plan of investments drawn up by the group, worth a total of 4.35 million euros in the 2016-2018 period. A series of research and development programmes will be carried out with several goals in mind, including the entry into new markets for helicopter safety systems, Russia above all, the improvement of ballistic protection products, and the development of new products for NBCR protection. Interventions are also planned for the expansion of productive capacity and for the adjustment and optimisation of production lines, as well as the establishment and certification of the maintenance site in Pensacola (USA), aimed at supporting the F35-JSF order and providing logistical and maintenance support to third parties, according to Aero Sekur.
Aside from the mini-bond issue, the plan will also be financed by the cash flow generated by management.
In 2015, the company reported revenues of 36.6 million euros, up 12% compared to the previous year. The Aeronautical sector generated revenues of 18.5 million euros, while the Defence sector brought in 15 million euros and the Space division recorded revenues of 3.1 million euros.
EBITDA in 2015 amounted to 3.4 million euros, equivalent to about 9% of revenues.
Thanks to a plan of research and development which has led to 12 million euros of investments over the past five years, the company has been able to consolidate its presence in the international market and become involved in some of the most significant programmes in the aerospace and defence sectors financed by national and international players, alongside other leading companies in the industry.
The excellent results have gained the backing of MIUR (Italy’s Ministry of Education, Universities and Research), which described Aero Sekur during a conference as a “virtuous example”, being the only small and medium sized company in the aerospace sector to have won three international contests in the first year of Horizon 2020, the EU Commission programme to finance research and innovation projects up to 2020.
“Our group is constantly growing. The industrial plan foresees an increase in sales of about 8% over the three-year period, due to the effects of the increase in expected delivery volumes in the defence and airborne sectors,” said Aero Sekur Chief Executive Marco Borghesi. “Tapping the capital market will allow us to accelerate the optimisation and consolidation of our expansion programmes,” he said.
“With Aero Sekur, our partnership and support of companies that are opening to the financial markets continues,” said Banca Promos President Ugo Malasomma. “Our support aims to have a long-term perspective, accompanying small and medium sized companies along a path of evolution and growth which leads to their recognition in the capital markets, where we have worked for more than 35 years, and on to a listing on the Italian stock exchange or in other financial markets, based on the type of company. In that respect we are particularly focused on small and medium sized companies active in southern Italy. On the demand front, we look to investors that are interested in products issued by well-performing businesses, which combine the search for good returns with awareness of the need to support the national economic fabric, which, as we know, is based squarely on the vitality of our small and medium sized companies.”
Presence in Italy
Aero Sekur, founded in 1968, has its headquarters in Aprilia in Italy’s Lazio region. Since 2001, Chairman Silvio Rossignoli has pursued a programme of innovation and diversification. Alongside the firm’s traditional product, the parachute, Rossignoli has developed the most sophisticated range of products and services for the worlds of defence, space, and aviation, aimed at ensuring the survival of defence and security forces and supporting the efficiency of helicopters and both civil and military air and ground vehicles. Products and services are based on avant-garde software and technology and innovative materials, including special fabrics and rubber.
The company employs around 230 people, including 36 engineers, in Aprilia, Caselle Torinese, Arenzano (Genoa) and San Pietro Infine (Caserta).
The most recent initiatives were launched after winning a major order from Northrop Grumman in 2011 to produce “inflatable hangars” for the F-35 fighter jet. An inflatable hangar is a structure that covers the airplane for “on the field” maintenance, accompanied by air conditioners that make it possible to work in different climates, from desert to arctic zones.
Research efforts have also led to new applications in aerospace and defence. From inflatable floating systems for helicopters – gigantic airbags – in the case of landing on water, including rafts for the crew, to flexible fuel tanks for armoured vehicles and helicopters. If this type of fuel tank is hit by a bullet, its valve shuts off in a few moments to prevent fuel leakage that could start a fire. For example, when a Mangusta helicopter of the Italian armed forces was hit in Afghanistan, the fuel tank shut off, the aircraft was able to continue the flight and the crew were saved.
“Everything we produce has something to do with textiles and air. Four floating systems keep a seven tonne helicopter afloat,” said Rossignoli.