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General Dynamics to buy combat vehicle manufacturer

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General Dynamics has reached an agreement to buy a manufacturer of armored vehicles for the military for $360 million.

Force Protection, based in Sommerville, S.C., will become part of General Dynamics Land Systems, which designs and manufactures Abrams main battle tanks and Stryker infantry combat vehicles.
General Dynamics Land Systems is a business unit of Falls Church-based General Dynamics.

Force Protection designs, manufactures and tests blast- and ballistic-protected products. Its specialty vehicles include the Buffalo, Cougar and Ocelot, which are designed to protect occupants from landmines, hostile fire and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

“Force Protection complements and strategically expands General Dynamics’ armored vehicle business, adding new products to the expansive portfolio of combat vehicles that we currently manufacture and support,” Mark C. Roualet, president of General Dynamics Land Systems, said in a statement.

General Dynamics will pay $5.52 per share of common stock.

Both boards of directors have approved the merger and expect the transaction to be completed by the end of 2012.

In its third-quarter, Force Protection reported revenues of $143.6 million, compared with $176.3 million during the same period the prior year. Profit for the company was $4.5 million compared with a loss of $1.9 million the year before. The company said its results were affected by the timing of contract deliveries and that it expected a strong fourth quarter.

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