Daher says it will take up to four years to get a Florida aerostructures factory it acquired from Triumph in 2022 up to the standard of its other facilities, after launching a $20 million damages claim from the US company for alleged breaches of contract during the due diligence process.
Under a writ issued in a New York court in December, the French aerospace company alleges that Triumph twice broke an asset purchase agreement, by failing to disclose the extent of overdue invoices and threatening to cut off access to critical software for workforce tracking, health and safety reporting, and employee communications. Triumph is contesting the allegations.
Daher completed the purchase of the factory, in Stuart, in July 2022, becoming a direct supplier to both Boeing and Gulfstream as a result. The facility’s most important product is the centre fuselage section for the former’s 767 freighter and related KC-46 tanker.
In its filing, Daher alleges that it has “attempted in good faith to resolve these disputes”, which it says only became clear after it took possession of the factory in July 2022.
It alleges that Triumph failed to “pay accounts payable in a manner consistent with its past practice” just ahead of the transfer. The writ also suggests the vendor failed “to turn over all the assets including software systems, none of which were included in the [asset purchase agreement] as an excluded asset. Without access to the software “operations would have come to an abrupt halt”, says the legal document.
For its part, Triumph says it “[disputes that it was] engaged in any fraudulent conduct… breached the representations and warranties in the divestiture agreement… [and]… the damages claimed”.
Daher, which manufactures TBM 960 and Kodiak family turboprops, as well as supplying aerostructures and services to the likes of Airbus and Dassault in Europe, took on Triumph’s 400 staff at the plant.
Daher chief executive Didier Kayat, who at the time hailed the “important expansion of our overall industrial footprint in North America”, now says the problems at the factory have affected its ability to deliver on customer promises.
“It will take two to four years to sort. It is currently far from being at our expected standard,” he said on the sidelines of a Daher results presentation in Paris on 7 February.
The difficulties are compounded by “hiring issues” in Florida where there is a shortage of skilled employees, although Daher says it is addressing this with enhanced training programmes and a recruitment drive.
Kayat says the legal dispute does not affect its long-term commitment to the plant and its customers. In fact, the company is considering expanding the facility to bring some production of its Tarbes, France-built TBM and Sandpoint, Idaho-assembled Kodiak family aircraft to Florida. “It does not change our ambitions for the US market,” he says.