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Lockheed Martin pursues tech deals in Britain, Australia

Workers can be seen on the moving line and forward fuselage assembly areas for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at Lockheed Martin Corp's facto
Workers can be seen on the moving line and forward fuselage assembly areas for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at Lockheed Martin Corp's facto

LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. defense company Lockheed Martin is looking to make more technology acquisitions in Britain and Australia after buying UK technology firm Amor Group.

Lockheed's IT division, one of the biggest players in the U.S. cyber market where it provides services to the military and intelligence services, announced the Amor deal late on Wednesday and said there would be more to come.

"It's global, people are seeing their intellectual property going out the door and they're looking for ways to prevent it," said Sondra Barbour, executive vice president of Lockheed's Information Systems & Global Solutions unit.

"Our focus is to build capability here in country," she told Reuters on the sidelines of a defense conference in London. "If we are to be successful in ... UK and Australia, we would expect to have an acquisition or two, we are actively pursuing them."

She said the company was looking at areas where there would be synergies. She declined to specify potential deals or company sizes. The price for the Amor deal was also not disclosed.

Barbour said the company was also looking to recruit staff such as cyber analysts in the UK. The division, which employs about 28,000 people, has just over 1,000 staff in Britain following the Amor acquisition, and about 500 staff in Australia.

Lockheed's IT division, which currently makes about five percent of its $8 billion annual revenue from overseas, has traditionally supported its international work from the U.S..

Its work outside the U.S. includes managing Britain's air traffic control systems and recent contract wins include one worth more than $100 million to design the network infrastructure for NATO's new Brussels headquarters.

Lockheed hopes to win more work in the UK, Australia and parts of the Middle East, Barbour said.

Other defense companies such as BAE Systems and aerospace group EADS have also sought to build up their cyber and intelligence businesses as governments spend more on securing their networks.

In 2008, BAE bought cyber security firm Detica for 531 million pounds.

Lockheed's push into IT markets abroad also comes alongside an overall company push to increase sales abroad. Earlier this year, it set itself an goal to grow its share of annual revenue from overseas sales from 17 to 20 percent and set up an international arm to spearhead the campaign.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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