Elon Musk’s SpaceX invested in a British engineering company that was started in a professor’s garage

Elon Musk’s SpaceX agreed to purchase a 10% stake in an electronics company founded 47 years ago in the garage of a professor.

Filtronic, a County Durham-based company, saw its shares rise by more than 50% after it announced a “strategic deal” with SpaceX.

Filtonic’s relationship with SpaceX is deepening, since the UK-based company provides power amplifiers that boost internet signal strength for Starlink satellites.

Filtonic announced that SpaceX recently placed a $19.7m purchase order (£15.8m).

SpaceX will receive warrants which can be converted into shares once it sells Mr Musk’s $60m worth of components.

SpaceX will get shares of Filtronic worth 5pc in exchange for the supply of parts that are used to provide satellite Internet at existing frequencies. A further 5pc is received for ordering future parts.

This deal represents a significant boost for Filtronic. The company was founded by David Rhodes in 1977, when he was a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Leeds.

It was initially set up to supply components for military aircraft, but became a major provider for Nokia mobile phone and reached a market valuation of more than £1.5bn in the dotcom bubble.

Filtronic shares never recovered from the loss of 99pc in value that occurred after the burst of this bubble.

Mr Rhodes purchased millions of shares when the value of the company was falling. He later admitted that the move “cost the family some money” and retired in 2006

The value of the shares has increased by around £110m.

David Newlands, former chairman of the science investor Touchstone Innovations, is one of its biggest shareholders.

Filtronic announced Wednesday that new deals would result in sales for this year and the next being significantly higher than market expectations.

Richard Gibbs, Filtronic’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are thrilled to enter this important Strategic Agreement [with SpaceX], a leader in LEO (low earth orbit] constellations.

This milestone in our SpaceX Partnership underlines the core value proposition we have of excellence in engineering and operational excellence. Filtronic can also scale up manufacturing, improve capability and implement our technology roadmap.

Mike Nicolls of SpaceX, the head of Starlink Engineering, said that the deal would “enable the Starlink network’s continued growth and connect millions more people with high-speed broadband internet”.

Ukraine has used Starlink to defend itself against Russia.