Qinetiq, the UK defence group formed out of the Ministry of Defence’s former research laboratories, on Wednesday followed through on plans to move into the Australian defence market with the purchase of two defence consulting businesses for a total of A$20m (£9m).

The defence group indicated in November that it planned to continue with acquisitions in the US and Australia while cutting about 5 per cent of its UK workforce.

Qinetiq will pay A$12m in cash to the US-based Ball Aerospace & Technologies for its Ball Solutions Group, which provides professional and consulting services to the Australian Department of Defence and has annual revenues of A$29m.

In November, Ball Solutions won a contract to investigate the feasibility of integrating Norwegian missile technology into the Joint Strike Missile to be used on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter being developed by Lockheed Martin.

Qinetiq will also pay A$8m in cash for Novare, which provides engineering and logistics services to the Australian Department of Defence. The group has expertise in explosive ordnance and weapons, but also provides data management services. It has annual revenues of A$6.1m.

Both acquisitions are subject to regulatory approval from the Australian and US governments but are expected to complete by the end of February. Qinetiq has acquired 11 businesses in the past three years in the US, four of them in the past year, helping to lift North American revenues from £165.8m to £256.6m. The acquisitions are Qinetiq’s first in Australia. The company said they were part of its plans to expand in Europe, Middle East and Australasia.

Qinetiq shares were unchanged at 197p on Wednesday.

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