SAIC homeland security work may jump 20 pct in 2008

WASHINGTON, Sept 24 (Reuters) - SAIC Inc SAI.N, the Pentagon's No. 10 contractor last year, sees homeland security as a growing business segment poised for a 20 percent revenue rise in fiscal 2008.

“We don’t have a huge footprint at DHS (Department of Homeland Security), but we’ve been growing rapidly,” Woody Hall, senior vice president for homeland security programs at SAIC, told Reuters in an interview.

After an expected 20 percent jump in homeland security revenue in fiscal 2008, the company projects revenue growth in that sector will settle down to around 6 percent to 8 percent annually, he said.

SAIC’s homeland security revenue reached $292 million in fiscal 2007, out of total revenue of $8.3 billion. The company’s fiscal 2008 will end on Jan. 31.

Last month, it won an order valued at up to $85 million from the department’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to provide information technology support services.

Founded in 1969 as Science Applications International Corp., SAIC went public nearly a year ago, raising $1.1 billion.

Hall, who joined SAIC in 2004 after long stints at two government agencies, said the company would focus mainly on winning more contracts as a systems integrator, knitting together various “bits and pieces” from other companies.

SAIC is also excited about a line of scanning equipment that it has already sold to several U.S. ports and one terminal in Hong Kong, he said.

The system uses X-rays, gamma rays and other technologies to search shipping containers for everything from stolen cars to hidden radioactive material.

SAIC started work on the system long before the Sept. 11, 2001, hijacking attacks, when the equipment was mainly used to find drugs and weapons. Now the technology is increasingly in demand to look for radioactive materials and chemical weapons.

But SAIC believes a congressional requirement for 100 percent cargo screening could “bring the flow of commerce to a stop,” Hall said.

SAIC also designs surveillance systems with alarms, sensors and cameras that have been used at airports and high-profile events including the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah and the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

Hall said SAIC would continue to pursue international homeland security deals, and to seek energy market work doing analytical and engineering work for petroleum and power companies.