Chemring Group

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Chemring Group
Public company (LSECHG)
IndustryAerospace and Defence
HeadquartersRomsey, UK
Key people
Carl-Peter Forster, chairman
Michael Ord, CEO
Revenue£547.5 million (2017)[1]
£55.4 million (2017)[1]
£6.6 million (2017)[1]
Number of employees
circa 2,600

Chemring Group is a global business providing a range of advanced technology products and services to the aerospace, defence and security markets. Chemring has extensive operations in the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Asia. It is headquartered in Romsey and is listed on the London Stock Exchange.


The business was formed in 1905 as The British, Foreign & Colonial Automatic Light Controlling Company Limited to make timers for gas street lighting.[2] In the 1950s the company diversified into silver coated filaments for lighting.[2] It was subsequently established that such filaments had an alternative use as chaff for radar decoy purposes.[2]

The company was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1974.[2] The Falklands War led to Chemring opening a new factory to produce aluminium glass chaff decoys in order to counteract the threat of sea-skimming missiles. In 1986 Chemring acquired pyrotechnics specialist Pains Wessex and moved into IR decoys.[2]

The First Gulf War led to a rapid increase in Chemring's production of countermeasures in support of the US-led coalition.[2] In 1992 the company acquired its main competitor, Haley & Weller. This resulted in Chemring supplying the majority of the UK Ministry of Defence's countermeasure and military pyrotechnic needs.[2] In 1993 Chemring established a presence in the United States with its first US acquisition, Alloy Surfaces Company Inc. This was furthered in 2001 when Chemring acquired Kilgore Flares Company LLC, making the Group the largest provider of decoys to the United States Department of Defense. In 2006 the Chemring Group acquired Poole based BDL Systems for £9 million.[3][4]

In 2007 the Company acquired Simmel Difesa, an ammunition supply business,[5] as well as Richmond Electronics & Engineering, a business specialising in bomb disposal technology.[6] In 2008 it went on to buy Scot, a business making devices for aircraft emergency systems,[7] and Martin Electronics, a manufacturer of ammunition and fuses.[8]

In 2009 Chemring acquired Hi-Shear Technology Corporation, a US leading manufacturer of high reliability energetic solutions that perform critical functions in key US space and defence programmes.[9] In 2010 it purchased Roke Manor Research, a centre for advanced technology research and development based in Hampshire, UK from Siemens for £55m.[10] In 2011 the company acquired the Detection Systems operations and certain related assets of General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products, a subsidiary of General Dynamics Corporation. The business operates as Chemring Detection Systems Inc and is a US leader in chemical and biological threat detection and has advanced capability in stand-off detection of improvised explosive devices.[11]

In 2012 Chemring disposed of its Marine interests, Chemring Marine, to Drew Marine.[12]


Chemring Group operates in four market sectors:[13]

  • Countermeasures – protecting aircraft, ships and land platforms against guided missile threats
  • Sensors & Electronics – equipment to detect and disable concealed IEDs (improvised explosive devices), unexploded ordnance, electronic warfare and chemical and biological threats
  • Pyrotechnics & Munitions – products for use in navy, army and air force applications
  • Energetic Systems – propellant, explosives, missile and ammunition components, thrusters, initiators and other components for the space sector


In 2002, a report on the BBC Today programme claimed that a salesman from PW Defence, a Chemring subsidiary, had agreed to sell landmines to an undercover reporter.[14][15] The anti-personnel weapons were outlawed in the UK in 1998, following the signing of the Ottawa Treaty.[16]

In 2011, it was revealed that CS gas produced by Chemring was used against civilian pro-democracy protesters in the 2011 Egyptian revolution.[17] Later in 2014, it was also revealed that tear gas used against demonstrators in the 2014 Hong Kong protests was provided by Chemring.[18]

In 2018, it was announced that the Serious Fraud Office had opened an investigation into corruption and money laundering by Chemring following a report from Chemring's subsidiary, Chemring Technology Solutions (CTSL), which is also being investigated. The inquiry will look at "the conduct of business by Chemring Group and CTSL".[19][20]


  1. ^ a b c "Income Statement 2017". Chemring. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Chemring: History[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Acquisition of BDL Systems Limited". Chemring Group PLC. 2006. Retrieved 17 January 2013.
  4. ^ "Chemring buys BDL Systems for 9 mln stg; order book reaches record 225 mln stg". London South East Limited. 2006. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
  5. ^ Chemring buys Simmel Difesa for £52m Reuters, 30 March 2007
  6. ^ Chemring buys bomb disposal company Richmond Reuters, 5 November 2007
  7. ^ Chemring buys pyrotechnics specialist Archived 15 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine QCK, 27 May 2008
  8. ^ Chemring buy Martin Electronics for $70m Archived 2 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine IB Times, 24 June 2008
  9. ^ Chemring buys U.S.-listed Hi-Shear Reuters, 16 September 2009
  10. ^ "defence.professionals". 10 August 2010. Archived from the original on 31 March 2012. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
  11. ^ Chemring acquires detection systems assets from GD The Engineer, 4 July 2011
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 July 2014. Retrieved 18 July 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) RTT News, 6 June 2012
  13. ^ At a Glance Chemring
  14. ^ "British firm 'tried to sell landmines'". The Daily Telegraph. 10 May 2002. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  15. ^ "UK firm accused of selling landmines". The Guardian. 1 January 1970. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  16. ^ "Treaty Status". ICBL. Retrieved 21 September 2016.
  17. ^ "British-made tear gas was used on Egypt's protesters". The Independent. 4 December 2011. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  18. ^ Tom Coghlan (29 September 2014). "Hong Kong protesters hit by 'British made' grenades | The Times & The Sunday Times". The Times. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  19. ^ "UK fraud office launches corruption investigation into Chemring". Reuters. 18 January 2018. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  20. ^ "Subscribe to read". Financial Times. Retrieved 18 January 2018.

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