UK group takes US composites route

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UK aerospace and automotive engineering group Hampson Industries is to acquire California-based Coast Composites, a manufacturer of tooling systems for composite structures, in a bid to benefit from the trend towards composite airframes.

In addition to acquiring Coast for $56 million, Hampson is to pay $25.2 million for California-based Lamsco West, a leading supplier of laminated shims and sheet materials to the aerospace industry. Both deals are expected to close in December.

The acquisitions bring the group access to “high-growth” programmes such as the Boeing 787, Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Lockheed/Boeing 
F/A-22 Raptor and several next-generation unmanned air vehicles. They will “transform Hampson’s strategic presence in aerospace, notably in laminates and high- growth composites, which are increasingly replacing metals in current and next-generation aircraft manufacture”, says Kim Ward, Hampson chief executive.

Hampson has announced a share placement that is expected to raise £32.5 million ($56.5 million) to help fund the acquisitions.

Established in metal components and structures, Hampson began moving into composites with its $41 million acquisition in December last year of US transparencies and plastics specialist Texstars.

The Lamsco acquisition will make the company the dominant supplier of laminated shims for aerospace applications.

GRAHAM WARWICK/WASHINGTON DC