Vega Group Plc, the Harpenden, Hertfordshire-based space and aerospace software and systems engineering group, saw profits rocketing ahead for the first half. The group saw a 24.7% rise in turnover to UKP4.5m, while profit before tax jumped 87.4% to UKP757,000. The company has ploughed large amounts into its cash reserves, increasing them by 309.4% to UKP782,000. It isn’t actively on the acquisition trail but is open to opportunities. Chairman John Rigg said that the company’s defence business had increased over the past year and could top 20% of revenue in the coming 12 months, doubling the figure last time. The company is also moving into the local government and health industries, applying communications and data archiving technologies used in its space work. The space industry is far from receding, though – the firm has a number of long term contracts, amounting to UKP18m of business. This period, the firm signed long term deals with the European Space Agency for orbital operations of its Infra red Space Observatory and the UK Ministry of Defence for consultancy in satellite procurement, and with the National Environment Research Council and European Space Institute for earth observation. The interim dividend is 1.04 pence.