Also, IAI moves closer to privatization.
Israel Aerospace Industries is making many moves from buying 50% of BlueBird Aero Systems for $14.4 million to cutting deals with foreign firms. IAI is also passing hurdles towards privatization. So Covid-19 isn’t stopping all business.
According to Globes, Israel’s ministerial privatization committee will meet next week to approve steps toward the sale of shares in IAI to the public. As Israelis are suffer through a three week lockdown, at least cabinet ministers can meet to do business. Once approved, the plan will then need the sanction of the unions.
Israel’s government intends to offer 25% of the shares in IAI on the open market at a price which would give the company a valuation of NIS 12 billion ($3.5 billion).
As for the acquisition of Bluebird Aero Systems Ltd, which was established in 2002, that company produces Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), specializing in the design, development and production of Micro, Mini and tactical UAS and peripheral equipment.
It makes sense that Israel develops unmanned vehicles. The UAV has been integral in the West’s war on terrorism as well as Israel’s struggles with Hamas. They provide valuable information by filming whatever is happening on the ground, can fire missiles and deliver other types of weapons, all while not risking pilots’ lives. They are also much smaller than helicopters and so are harder to detect and shoot down.
BlueBird CEO Ronen Nadir said in a statement, “I am delighted by IAI’s decision to become a part of BlueBird and wish to thank the BlueBird team for their support and dedication over the years. Along with IAI’s vast technological and innovative abilities and its infrastructure and world market access, we will continue to grow the company and extend its market share.”
IAI Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Military Aircraft Group of IAI, Moshe Levy, said, “IAI’s UAV experience spans close to 50 years. During this time IAI has focused on customizing its developments to the needs arising from the field and the market. The acquisition of BlueBird is an implementation of this strategy, offering us an important leap forward in developing the next IAI UAV family. The combined companies will offer a broader portfolio of VTOL products with advanced technological benefits at competitive prices.”
In other IAI news the company launched a new joint venture with the mining company Bis. The two firms have founded Auto-mate, a new company that will provide autonomous systems for mining operations. They boast that this is a “world-first” joint venture to deliver the next generation of mine site automation to the global resources sector.
The joint venture partnership combines the experience of Bis in the mining sector with IAI’s experience in autonomous technologies. IAI has been designing and deploying robotic and autonomous vehicle and asset solutions for air, sea, and land for over four decades. Bis, a leading Australian resource logistics is renowned for delivering innovative logistics and equipment solutions to mining customers for over 100 years.
“The Auto-mate joint venture represents a significant advancement in mining automation,” Bis CEO Brad Rogers said. “The flexible and scalable solution is the ultimate partner in mining automation, delivering superior technology, to a wider range of miners, at a lower cost.”
IAI VP and CEO of ELTA, Yoav Turgeman said “The interoperable and scalable system is the perfect union of cutting-edge technology and practical applications. Auto-mate will deliver a flexible approach to automation, delivering usability for multiple levels of automation across all haulage assets and ancillary equipment, with one central command center.”