Chris Jasper/LONDON

The GKN group is to establish a major presence in the USA through the purchase of Boeing's St Louis-based structural fabrications business. The sale of the facility, which Boeing regards as a non-core business, was first mooted in Flight International (3-9 October), and is linked to a deal which will see UK-based GKN become a key supplier to Boeing's military aircraft and missile systems group.

The former McDonnell Douglas site, on sale for a cut-price £44 million ($61 million), makes metal and composite components for the F/A-18E/F, C-17 and other Boeing military aircraft. Key to the GKN purchase is anticipated work on the Joint Strike Fighter (Boeing would assemble the aircraft in St Louis) and on the Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22, with work transferred from Seattle.


GKN, which already has a presence in the USA following other recent acquisitions, will use the purchase to restructure its global aerospace interests. It aims to consolidate its position as a first tier supplier of structures, components, assemblies and engineering services to aircraft and aero-engine primes.

The business, to be renamed GKN Aerospace Services, will have seven sites worldwide, including St Louis. GKN will consolidate its US titanium parts business (acquired when it bought Chemtronics last year) at San Diego, closing a site in Carson, California, and its US composites activities (previously Dow-UT, bought in 1998) at Tallassee, Alabama, closing its Wallingford, Connecticut facility.

In the UK, GKN will close its Avonmouth composites business, retaining Luton (Aerospace Composite Technologies), Portsmouth (formerly FTP - fuel cells and flotation systems) and Cowes (nacelles and structures). In Germany, its Munich-based composites business will be retained, but its Sitec actuation subsidiary sold.

The new GKN Aerospace Services - to be headed by the group's managing director for aerospace, Kevin Smith, - anticipates sales of around £550 million ($800 million) next year, with £205 million coming from St. Louis. GKN is a 50% shareholder in the new AgustaWestland helicopter venture with Finmeccanica, and also has major automotive and industrial services businesses.

• Boeing, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman have reported improved profits for the quarter ended 30 September - Boeing leading the way with earnings of $609 million, up 28%, although revenues dropped 11%.

Northrop Grumman profits edged up to $132 million, even after a charge relating to the sale of its commercial aero-structures unit to Carlyle, while Raytheon earned $105, reversing a $163 loss of a year ago.

Source: Flight International