Boeing is wrapping its three Australian businesses - Boeing Australia (BAL), Hawker de Havilland (HdH) and Preston Systems - into one holding company. But the US giant's president for Australia, Andrew Peacock, has dismissed speculation that Boeing is close to floating its Australian interests on the Sydney stock exchange.

"I've put out of my mind doing an IPO [initial public offering] in the next couple of years, but we may look at it again," he says.

Boeing Australia Holdings will be a direct subsidiary of Boeing in Chicago and will bring together Brisbane-based aircraft systems specialist BAL, formerly Rockwell and acquired in 1996; Preston, which specialises in airport planning and design and was bought in 1999; and Melbourne-based aerostructures, components and maintenance business HdH, which became part of Boeing three years ago.

Speaking at last week's Australian air show in Avalon, near Melbourne, Peacock described the move as a "tidying-up" of the company's Australian interests into a single legal entity, simplifying financial reporting lines.

Peacock, a former foreign minister and ambassador to the USA, is one of several former politicians and diplomats being appointed by Boeing as "country presidents" in key markets, to co-ordinate sales and manufacturing efforts and represent Boeing in government circles.

Boeing has almost 3,000 staff in Australia, its largest operation outside the USA.

Hawker de Havilland has "aspirations to be a tier one supplier," says Peacock. "We are currently succeeding in the European context". A third of the company's revenues come from Airbus, for which it produces outboard machined wing ribs and composite main landing gear leg fairings for the A320 and composite main landing gear doors and floor supports on the A330 and A340.

Source: Flight International