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Plessey Co has agreement in principle to buy defence specialist Sippican Inc of Massachusetts for $80m in cash, $18.50 per share. Sippican, with which Plessey has worked for 20 years, is a specialist in anti-submarine warfare. Plessey does only UKP20m of its UKP500m-a-year defence business in the US at pres-ent, and the deal will enable it to bid for several US Department of Defense contracts for underwater systems, which will be the subject of US/UK collaboration. Plessey chairman Sir John Clark indicated that he hoped the move to acquire Sippican would be the first of sev-eral. The company’s cash balance before the acquisition was UKP270m and there is another UKP45m to come from GEC. Sippican’s net income for the nine months ending in September was announced yesterday as $2.5m on sales of $40.6m. Its or-der book stands at $62m, up 34%.

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