Airbus Secure Land Communications looking to find the ‘right’ owner for the business

Following the announcement on 16 September 2014 that parts of the Airbus portfolio are to be sold off, Nicole Lecca, Head of Secure Land Communications (SLC) at Airbus Defence and Space, explains that a new owner is needed to invest in new technology and bring the business to the next level and maintain its world class position

Airbus Secure Land Communications looking to find the ‘right’ owner for the business

Why has Airbus Group decided to sell your parts of the business?
We entered a new era in January 2014 when the former Cassidian Division joined forces with Airbus Military and Astrium to form Airbus Defence and Space, one of the three Divisions of Airbus Group.

This move was followed by an in-depth portfolio assessment, which clearly showed that the nature of Airbus Defence and Space’s business does not sufficiently correspond to what we need and do at Secure Land Communications (SLC).

Our activities proved very successful, but to stay in line with the new Airbus Group’s strategy and mission ‘We make it fly’, we have decided to investigate and to identify a more suitable owner that is in a better position to strengthen and develop our activities.

The aim is to host SLC in a commercially more suitable environment and to sustain its long-term profitable growth in highly competitive markets. With the new owner, we aim to further develop our lean, agile, entrepreneurial style of business, enabling SLC to develop to its full potential.

Since the Group is selling off the SLC business, does this mean that it is no longer attractive?
On the contrary! SLC is much too valuable to simply sell off. For a long time, our business has been strong, profitable and growing, and we have continuously invested in it.

Thanks to this, we are proud to be a leading provider of secure communication solutions for mission-critical users in the civil and military markets. Our portfolio encompasses emergency response centres (911/112) and professional mobile radio communication (PMR/LMR), together with a wide range of services.

We are what is known as a ‘trusted mission-critical service partner’ with strong roots and long-term customer relations built on trust. As a result, the company is today a world leader in secure radio communication networks, with more than 280 networks deployed in 74 countries, and the US leader for 911 response centres with more than 60% of the market.

But why not keep what is profitable?
The PMR business faces ever-changing customer needs. We have therefore always remained close to our partners and customers in order to understand the communications requirements that drive our portfolio innovation. Following the Airbus strategic decision to focus on its core areas, it is no longer the best owner for the development of the SLC business.

SLC would therefore be in a better position with a more suitable player that can invest in the new technology and focus on the business to bring it to the next level and to maintain its world class position.

As you said, our business is in good health, which is another reason why this is the right time to perform such a move.

Do you currently have any concrete plans as to who the new owner will be?
No, this is too early. Airbus Group will thoroughly investigate the new ownership to identify the most suitable holder for our business. The Group’s main focus is to find the best owner for all stakeholders, among them our employees, partners and customers.

And this of course includes the fact that we will ensure the interests of our worldwide customers are protected! We count public safety (police, fire brigades and ambulances) and defence and critical infrastructures (airports, underground lines, oil and gas, energy/mining etc.) among our most important customers, whose interest it is to ensure security.

Our solutions enable them to communicate efficiently, reliably and securely with one another. Particularly in the light of natural disasters, crime, economic espionage or terrorism, they need to trust and be comfortable with whoever provides them with such important communications means. Those aspects will certainly to be among the key considerations when selecting a new owner.

How soon is this move to be made? Are there already any potential buyers?
We will move as swiftly as possible to ensure the minimum transition period for both our customers and all our stakeholders. It is business as usual; however, we will implement an appropriate process in order to ensure that we select the right owner for the business while ensuring value creation for our shareholders.

Will this move affect the kind of service your customers can expect from you?
For the whole organisation, the focus remains on business continuity, business development and customer service. We are committed to remaining a trusted and reliable partner of choice. The objective is clear: we want our customers to stay with us!

This move is a prerequisite for enhanced competitiveness, profitability and future growth. It will enhance the company’s ability to produce new, innovative solutions, to expand in new markets and to increase the economies of scale for customers across the world.

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