Babcock International

Babcock International is a multinational corporation headquartered in the United Kingdom. It specialises in managing complex assets and infrastructure. Although the company has civil contracts, its main business is with public bodies, particularly the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence and Network Rail. The company has four operating sectors, with overseas operations based in Africa, North America, South America, Europe and Australia.

Babcock International Group plc
Public limited company
Traded asLSE: BAB
IndustrySupport services
Founded1891 (1891)
Area served
Key people
Mike Turner (Chairman)
Archie Bethel (CEO)
RevenueUK£4,659.6 million (2018)[1]
UK£439.1 million (2018)[1]
UK£337.7 million (2018)[1]
Number of employees
35,427 (2018)[2]
SubsidiariesCavendish Nuclear
Babcock Mission Critical Services Onshore
Babcock Mission Critical Services Offshore
Babcock Canada
Babcock Mission Critical Services Portugal
Babcock Mission Critical Services (Australia)
Babcock Mission Critical Services Italia
Babcock Mission Critical Services Germany
Babcock Mission Critical Services España
Norsk Helikopterservice
Scandinavian AirAmbulance
Babcock Marine
WRN Broadcast
Conbras Serviços Técnicos de Suporte LTDA
Babcock Education

Babcock is listed on the London Stock Exchange, and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.


1891 to 2000

Babcock International traces its history back to 1891 when the American Babcock & Wilcox Company formed a separately financed (capitalised at £250,000 initially) British company called Babcock & Wilcox Ltd.[3]

The initial board members of the British company included the renowned Scottish structural engineer Sir William Arrol and Andrew Stewart, of the Lanarkshire based steel tube makers A & J Stewart & Menzies, subsequently Stewarts & Lloyds.[4]

The company's sphere of operation was defined as 'the world except for North America and Cuba' which was the preserve of the US Babcock & Wilcox.[4] For a few years, B&W boilers were built in the Singer Manufacturing Company's Kilbowie Works at Clydebank near Glasgow, Scotland.[4] Isaac Singer was a significant shareholder in Babcock & Wilcox.[5]

In 1895, Babcock & Wilcox Ltd opened a new boilermaking works, based on the 33-acre (130,000 m2) site of the Porterfield Forge on the opposite side of the River Clyde near Renfrew.[4]

The workload expanded as a result of the two world wars and the supply of defence equipment became another major business area. During the 1940s, the workforce at Renfrew peaked at approximately 10,000. In the 1960s, the company became involved in the development of the nuclear power stations in the United Kingdom.[4]

In 1979, Babcock & Wilcox Ltd was renamed Babcock International Ltd. This company was floated on the stock exchange in 1982, becoming Babcock International PLC. Babcock & Wilcox (Operations) Ltd was renamed Babcock Power Ltd which subsequently became Babcock Energy Ltd.[6] In 1987, Babcock merged with FKI Electricals plc, another engineering company to form FKI Babcock PLC.[3]

In February 1989, FKI Babcock PLC demerged to form Babcock International Group PLC and FKI plc.[7] In 1995, a 75% stake in the boiler manufacturing and energy services activities (originally the core businesses of Babcock), by then known as Babcock Energy Ltd, were sold to Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding of Japan, and became Mitsui Babcock Energy Ltd.[8]

In November 2006, Mitsui sold the company to Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction a subsidiary company of the Doosan Group of South Korea: at that time the company was renamed Doosan Babcock Energy Ltd.[9] In September 2009, the Czech based steam turbine maker, Skoda Power, became part of Doosan Babcock Energy Ltd, the latter being renamed Doosan Power Systems Ltd in 2010.[10]

2000 to 2010

In 2000, Babcock took the strategic decision to move away from manufacturing towards maintaining and supporting the critical equipment and infrastructure of customers. Reflecting the successful shift in the company's strategic focus, in 2002 Babcock was duly reclassified on the London Stock Exchange from 'Engineering' to 'Support Services'.[11]

On 19 June 2002, the Company acquired Service Group International Ltd, a provider of support services in defence and civil markets.[8] It successfully bid for Peterhouse Group plc, and on 18 June 2004, its bid was declared unconditional as over 50% of shares were held.[8] On 30 September 2004, it acquired Turner and Partners, a provider of professional services to the telecoms industry.[8]

On 9 May 2006, it went on to acquire Alstec Group Ltd, a nuclear and airport services operator,[12] and on 13 June 2006, it bought the high voltage power lines and mobile telecoms business of ABB South Africa (Pty).[8] On 10 May 2007, 19 million new shares were placed to fund acquisitions, and on 28 June 2007, it acquired Devonport Management Limited, operators of the Devonport Dockyard nuclear submarine and surface vessel facilities and Appledore Shipbuilders.[13]

On 25 July 2007, the United Kingdom Government announced that the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, of which Babcock International is a part, would carry out final assembly of two new aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy at their Rosyth Dockyard.[14] On 7 August 2007 acceptances for the acquisition of International Nuclear Solutions PLC reached 58.9% of issued share capital, and a takeover was then completed.[15]

On 22 April 2008, to further strengthen the brand in the Nuclear sector and submarine support sector, Babcock acquired Strachan & Henshaw from the Weir Group for £65m. This purchase brought a company with over fifty years of experience in high integrity material handling.[16] In September 2009, Babcock acquired the UK Atomic Energy Authority's commercial arm, UKAEA Ltd.[17]

This extended Babcock's existing nuclear skills, bringing additional expertise in waste categorisation, decommissioning of high hazard facilities, encapsulation and storage of hazardous materials and transportation of waste.[18] The deal also provided Babcock with its first operational Tier 1 position in the civil nuclear market and a direct relationship with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, complementing its existing Tier 1 position in the military nuclear market.[18]

2010 to present

In March 2010, Babcock acquired VT Group for £1.32bn or 750p a share. Babcock offered 361.6p a share in cash, as well as 0.7 new Babcock shares for each VT Group share. The acquisition was completed on 8 July 2010. The combined companies created a defence and support services group with sales of £3bn and more than 25,000 employees in Britain and the United States.[19]

As a result of the merger, Babcock took over the contract to operate the Defence High Frequency Communications Service on behalf of the Ministry of Defence. The contract was originally awarded to VT Merlin Communications in 2003, for a period of fifteen years.[20]

In April 2014, Babcock Dounreay Partnership (BDP), a consortium of Babcock International Group PLC (50%), CH2M Hill (30%) and URS (20%) was selected as preferred bidder and eventually awarded a £1.6bn contract by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority for the management and decommissioning of the Dounreay nuclear site in Scotland.[21]

In May 2012, Babcock was awarded a £15m contract by the Ministry of Defence to support the design of the United Kingdom's next generation nuclear armed submarines.[22] Babcock agreed in March 2014 to buy the helicopter services company Avincis Group for £1.6 billion.[23] Avincis was subsequently rebranded under the Babcock name in January 2015.[24]

In July 2013, the Support Services division acquired Conbras Serviços Técnicos de Suporte LTDA in Brazil for a cash consideration of £18.2 million plus deferred consideration of £4.4 million.[25]

In August 2014, Babcock issued a statement declaring that there would be job losses at HMNB Clyde if Scotland were to vote in favour of independence in the 2014 Referendum.[26] In October 2014, Babcock and BAE Systems won contracts from the Ministry of Defence worth a total of £3.2 billion to maintain British warships, submarines and naval bases for the following five years.[27]

In November 2014, Babcock was named as the British Government's preferred buyer of the land repair and maintenance business of the Defence Support Group, an executive agency and trading fund of the Ministry of Defence. The sale and transfer to Babcock was completed on 1 April 2015.[28] In September 2019, The Royal Navy selected Babcock as its preferred bidder to build the new fleet of five Type 31 frigates for the United Kingdom.[29]


The company is organised into four sectors: Marine, Land, Aviation & Cavendish Nuclear.[1]

Financial information

Babcock International Group plc financial results.[1]
Year ended Revenue million) Operating Profit (£m) Profit/(loss) before tax (£m) Earnings per share (p)
2018 4,659.6 439.1 391.1 66.6
2017 4,547.1 416.3 362.1 61.8
2016 4,158.4 387.1 330.1 57.0
2015 3,996.6 381.7 313.1 52.9
2014 3,321.0 254.0 218.8 44.3
2013 3,029.4 252.5 224.6 53.0
2012 2,848.4 206.3 173.0 42.9
2011 2,564.5 159.3 111.1 30.1


  1. "Preliminary Results 2018". Babcock International. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  2. "Babcock International". City Wire. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  3. "Records of Babcock International Group plc, 1989-, boiler makers and engineers, England". Archives Hub. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  4. "Records of Babcock International Group plc Archived 14 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine." Glasgow University Archive Services
  5. "Singer, Babcock & Wilcox". Ismacs. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  6. "Records of Babcock Energy Ltd, 1987-1995, boilermakers and engineers". Archives Hub. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  7. "Records of Babcock Industrial & Electrical Products Ltd Archived 10 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine" Glasgow University Archive Services
  8. "Babcock International". UK Business Park. Archived from the original on 16 June 2013. Retrieved 17 April 2011.
  9. "Mitsui to sell Mitsui Babcock to South Korean firm". 1 January 1970. Archived from the original on 30 July 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2011.
  10. "Doosan buys Skoda Power". The Engineer. 16 September 2009. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  11. Babcock: Chairman's Statement Annual Report 2003
  12. "Babcock has eye for nuclear contracts". 14 May 2006. Retrieved 17 April 2011.
  13. "Naval Dockyard bought for £350m". BBC News. 10 May 2007. Retrieved 17 April 2011.
  14. "Shipyard to build carriers' hulls". BBC News. 14 February 2008. Retrieved 17 April 2011.
  15. Chris Barry (6 April 2007). "Babcock buys INS in agreed takeover". Archived from the original on 13 May 2007. Retrieved 17 April 2011.
  16. Simon Bain (22 April 2008). "Weir sells Strachan & Henshaw for £65m". Retrieved 17 April 2011.
  17. "Babcock buys UKAEA Ltd for GBP50 million". Nuclear Engineering International. 18 September 2009. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  18. "Babcock to acquire UKAEA Ltd for £50m". Process Engineering. 21 September 2009. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  19. Wachman, Richard (23 March 2010). "Babcock and VT agree £1.3bn merger". Guardian. UK. Retrieved 24 March 2010.
  20. "VT Communications opens new centre for Defence High Frequency Communications". Association for International Broadcasting. 19 June 2006. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  21. "Babcock International Group". Archived from the original on 24 August 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  22. "Babcock International Group". BBC News. 22 May 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2012.
  23. Ficenec, John (28 March 2014). "Babcock agrees £1.6bn deal for helicopter firm Avincis". The Telegraph. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
  24. "Avincis renamed Babcock". Babcock International. 12 January 2015. Archived from the original on 6 June 2015. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
  25. "Interim Management Statement". Babcock International. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  26. "'Scottish Independence could cause job losses' warns Babcock". HR Grapevine. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  27. "Babcock, BAE Systems win $5.2 billion UK naval contracts" (Press release). Reuters. 1 October 2014.
  28. "Buyer chosen for MoD's Defence Support Group". BBC News. 19 November 2014. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  29. "Royal Navy Type 31 frigate order goes to Babcock". BBC. 12 September 2019. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
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