Wichita aircraft firm plans to acquire overseas plants

Tuesday, January 31st 2006, 2:34 pm
By: News On 6

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ Spirit AeroSystems Inc., which acquired Boeing Co.'s commercial aircraft plants in Wichita and Oklahoma last year, announced Tuesday that it will buy a division of a British manufacturer.

Spirit said it will pay $142 million for the aerostructures business unit of BAE Systems, also assuming some of its liabilities. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval, and the company said it expects to complete the deal in the first half of this year.

The BAE Systems unit has operations in Prestwick, Scotland, and Samlesbury, England. What will be known as Spirit AeroSystems (Europe) Ltd. produces structural components, chiefly on wings, similar to those that Spirit now makes at its plant in Tulsa, Okla., for other airplane programs.

BAE Systems Aerostructures employs more than 800 people in the United Kingdom and had revenues of about $367 million last year. More than 80 percent of its revenue comes from Airbus planes. The rest comes from the Boeing 767 and 777 and the Raytheon Hawker 800XP.

``Spirit sees this as an opportunity to diversity our revenue base and accelerate our growth as a world leader in aerostructures and systems manufacturing,'' Ron Brunton, Spirit AeroSystems executive vice president and chief operating officer, said in a news release announcing the deal.

``We will grow our business both by winning new work and by expanding our presence around the world,'' Chief Executive Officer Jeff Turner said.

Spirit AeroSystems was formed after its Canada-based parent, Onex Corp., bought Boeing's commercial aircraft operations in Wichita and Tulsa and McAlester, Okla. It is the largest independent supplier of structures for commercial aircraft.