Quickstep to move east on $700m deal

02/02/2011 - 10:40

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Perth-based advanced materials group Quickstep Holdings will move its manufacturing base to Sydney, after signing a 20-year, $700 million agreement to supply parts for the international F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.

Perth-based advanced materials group Quickstep Holdings will move its manufacturing base to Sydney, after signing a 20-year, $700 million agreement to supply parts for the international F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.

The agreement has allowed Quickstep to announce plans to establish a new manufacturing facility at Sydney's Bankstown airport, with the company signing a lease over 4,200 square metres of buildings previously used by US aerospace giant Boeing.

Quickstep said it planned a staged transition from its existing Western Australian manufacturing facility, with all WA staff offered relocation opportunities.

Quickstep's move to Bankstown will include the transfer of research and development programs relating to its proprietary composites manufacturing technology - the Quickstep Process - which will form a key component of its future licensing and export capabilities from Australia.

Quickstep will supply up to 16 different Joint Strike Fighter components to F-35 subcontractor Northrop Grumman, including lower side skins, maintenance access panels, fuel tank covers, lower skins and in-board weapons bay doors.

Over the life of the program, Quickstep expects to deliver more than 36,000 parts, generating an annual turnover of $50 million by 2015.

Quickstep said it would first deliver the parts to Northrop in 2012.

The agreement is the first of several Quickstep will enter into under a memorandum of understanding signed with F-35 contractor Lockheed Martin and Northrop.

Annual purchase orders will follow the agreement, and manufacturing contracts are expected to be awarded thereafter.

Quickstep chief executive Philippe Odouard said the moves secured the company's long-term manufacturing capabilities.

"The signing of this LTA signals a genuine quantum shift in Quickstep's development," Mr Odouard said.

"The international defence industry has perhaps one of the highest barriers to entry of any industry in the world, but, for companies that are successful, the contracts are generally large scale and long term.

"Quickstep has now earned its place as a supplier for JSF, and we hope many additional aerospace and defence contracts will soon follow

"In addition, our success in securing specific sections of Boeing's former manufacturing site in Sydney will provide Quickstep with a long-term lease over a manufacturing facility that offers the scale, resources and utilities necessary to undertake large-scale aerospace and defence manufacturing."

Following news of the deal, Quickstep shares surged nearly 10 per cent, rising from 42 cents, where they last traded before entering a trading halt on Monday, to 55.5 cents.

However, the stock pulled back to 46.5 cents, up 9.41 per cent, by the close of trading.

 

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