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John Naronha

Why are shares of UK's defence group Cobham soaring on Thursday?

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Shares of Cobham Plc. (LON:COB) jumped around 35% on Thursday after US private equity group Advent International said it is buying the UK defence and aerospace group for £4bn ($5bn) in an all-cash deal. Advent’s offering values the defence major at 165p a share, representing a premium of more than 50% of the average share price over the last three months.

Cobham is known for pioneering the air-to-air refuelling technology which is established in jets manufactured by Airbus and Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighters. In addition, the firm also manufactures electronic warfare systems and communications for military vehicles.

Earlier today, Cobham announced its H1 2019 results with the group revenue soaring to £1.03bn in 2019 from £924.5m same time last year. The firm also reported an underlying profit before tax of £98.9m in the first half of 2019 compared to £62.6m a year earlier with the underlying EPS rising from 2.0p last year to 3.2p in the six months to 30th June. However, the group’s statutory operating profit fell to £68.7m from £213.9m a year earlier while the underlying operating profit registered a more than 10% increase; from £95.5m to £107.1m in the corresponding period.

At noon GMT, shares of Cobham were trading at 166p, in line with Advent’s offer price, bringing the year to date gains to about 70%.

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