Groupe GORGÉ, via subsidiary ECA, has agreed to acquire 100% of the capital of INFOTRON from Remote Reward.
INFOTRON is a French company specialising in the development and marketing of helicopter-type vertical take-off drones (To view products developed by INFOTRON, see http://www.infotron.fr/Photos and https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxaCsZE7hlmGRAspPPQGVKw/feed).
Structure of the transaction
The acquisition is being paid for with €2.5 million in cash and 375,000 new ECA shares. To accelerate completion of the deal, given the legal delays involved in issuing the new shares, Groupe Gorgé will provisionally take over INFOTRON in exchange for its own ECA shares. The Group will subsequently transfer Infotron to ECA on the same terms, receiving the newly created shares in exchange. ECA will then become sole shareholder of Infotron.
A recognised company in airborne drones
INFOTRON is a precursor in its field. It has developed a drone with a unique, patented architecture that can operate stably and effectively in all conditions.
With €2 million in sales in 2013, Infotron is the biggest French independent company by revenue in the professional drone sector. Its IT180 model is currently in operational use by the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA). The company has sold products and carried out demos in around ten countries.
It specialises in professional drones for military or civilian inspection, detection and identification applications, using a variety of detection systems. Its 5 kg payload and endurance allows the INFOTRON drone to outperform most lighter UAVs on all performance measures.
A full and complementary range
This acquisition shows the Group's ambitions to establish itself as leader in the mobile robotics market. It is now the first company in the world to offer a range of mobile robots for all environments (submarine, land, sea and air).
The strategic support of ECA Group will allow INFOTRON to ramp up its commercial expansion. The integration of airborne drones with the Group's other mobile robotics solutions will generate numerous commercial, technological and operational synergies.
Airborne drones' capabilities to carry out reconnaissance, continuous observation and mapping are an essential aid to land-based drone missions, both in the preparatory stage (data acquired in advance by the airborne drone) and during the mission itself (monitoring, navigational aid, information relay). Collaboration between airborne and land drones will deliver an immediate gain in time and effectiveness. This complementarity also applies to surface drones (unmanned vessels) for naval applications.
Many defence or civilian tasks will benefit from this complementarity:
- reconnaissance for IEDs;
- reconnaissance and intervention in hostile environments (e.g. where there is risk of chemical, bacteriological or nuclear contamination);
- reconnaissance and intervention during military operations in urban or open settings;
- surveillance of zones, particularly sensitive infrastructure.
INFOTRON will be integrated within the Saclay site, which already specialises in mobile robotics. R&D work will continue to expand range and functionalities (new detectors, improved endurance).
Airborne drones can be rapidly distributed through ECA's global sales network and will benefit from the recently announced sales and marketing drive.
The Group's ambition is to leverage ECA's unique global positioning in mobile robotics to profit from the expected rapid expansion of this market.