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Ultra Electronics

Ultra Electronics Holdings plc
Public (LSE: ULE)
Industry Defence, security, transport and energy
Founded 1920
Headquarters Greenford, London, UK
Area served
Key people
Douglas Caster, Chairman
Rakesh Sharma Chief Executive
Products C4ISTAR
Cyber security
Sonar systems
Civil transport and energy systems and equipment
Equipment for defence and security applications
Military aircraft equipment
Civil aircraft equipment
Revenue £713.7 million (2014)[1]
£39.5 million (2014)[1]
£6.5 million (2014)[1]

Ultra Electronics Holdings (LSE: ULE) is a British company serving the defence, security, transport and energy industries. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.


  • History 1
  • Operations 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4


The Company was started by Teddy Rosen in 1920 as Edward E. Rosen & Co. manufacturing high quality headphones. In 1923 the company moved to new premises at Harrow Road, London and in 1925 a new company Ultra Electric Ltd. was formed. Ultra introduced its first mains powered wireless set in 1931. After further expansion the company moved to larger premises at Erskine Road, Chalk Farm, NW3 in 1932 and also built a new 150,000 sq ft (14,000 m2) factory at Western Avenue, Acton, W3 in 1935.[2] Ultra manufactured a wide range of domestic radio receivers including the Blue Fox, Lynx, Panther and Tiger models.[2] In 1939 Ultra presented a television receiver to the market for the BBC High Definition Television Service which was transmitted on 405 lines from the studios at Alexandra Palace, north London.[3]

During World War II the company diversified into building tails and bomb doors for the Short Stirling aircraft.[4]

Ultra opened a new factory at Gosport for the production of televisions and radios in 1956 and acquired Pilot Radio & Television in 1959, before splitting into two divisions, one dealing with domestic radio and television and the other with electronic products, in 1960.[5] In 1961 Ultra's consumer electronics interests became part of Thorn Electrical Industries, who continued to manufacture products using the Ultra brandname until 1974.[2] The remainder of the company became Ultra Electronics Ltd. - producing among other products the "Jezebel" and "Mini-Jezebel" sonobuoys[6] - which was bought by the Dowty Group in 1977.[7]

In 1993 Ultra was the subject of a management buyout[8] led by Julian Blogh[9] of seven Dowty Group plc companies which formed the Dowty Group Electronic Systems Divisions, which had been acquired by TI Group in 1992.[10] The company floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1996.[11]


The company operates its portfolio as an umbrella of specialist businesses designing, manufacturing and supporting electronic and electromechanical systems, sub-systems and products for defence, security, transport and energy applications worldwide. It employs over 4500 people. The head office is located in Greenford, Middlesex, UK.

Ultra comprises 23 businesses, with approximately half in the UK and half in the USA and Canada. It also has offices in Singapore and the UAE and has recently established (2007) the Ultra Electronics Pty Ltd subsidiary based in Adelaide Australia. Ultra has also formed joint ventures with local firms in the UAE, Qatar and China in recent years.

The company is structured around three divisions: Aerospace & Infrastructure, Communications & Security and Maritime & Land.

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Preliminary Results 2014". Ultra Electronics. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c Vintage Technology: Ultra Electric
  3. ^ History of the BBC
  4. ^ One firm's war Flight Magazine, 29 July 1960
  5. ^ Ultra Electric Re-organisation Flight Magazine, 15 January 1960
  6. ^ "Mini-Jezebel" (PDF). 26 November 1977. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  7. ^ Black Pig Ltd, The Sty, 47 Upper King St, Royston, SG8 9AZ, 01763 222 333. "Ultra Electronics". Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  8. ^ "Ultra Electronics Holdings plc Annual Report and Accounts 2005 Page 31" (PDF). Ultra Electronics Holdings plc. 2005. Retrieved 2006-09-25. 
  9. ^ Campbell, Katharine (1997-09-23). "'Pilot' with the right stuff: How three companies won acclaim in the Venturer of the Year awards". Financial Times. 
  10. ^ "British Engineering Merger Moves Forward". Reuters. 1992-06-11. Retrieved 2006-09-25. 
  11. ^ "Ultra Electronics Holdings plc Annual Report and Accounts 2010 Page 07" (PDF). Ultra Electronics Holdings plc. 2010. Retrieved 2011-04-19. 
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