South African defence group Denel is to split the aerostructures and component manufacturing operations of its aviation division as part of a wider restructuring plan to return the company to profitability.

Denel Aviation was the only division not to make a surplus last year within its aerospace portfolio, which also includes optical supplier Eloptro, avionics unit Kentron and the Overberg test range outside Cape Town.

New Denel chief executive Victor Mosche is set to unveil plans for a restructuring of the entire group, including armaments and commercial activities, before year-end, to be in place by April. Under the plans, Denel Aviation will be split into two companies, provisionally called Denel Aerospace Manufacturing and Denel Logistics. "We have two extremes of aerospace manufacturing, with high-volume, low-margin work operating in the same plant as the low-volume, high-margin work," says Knox Msebenzi, Denel group executive director for aerospace.

Denel is preparing to produce over 4,000 aluminium and sheet metal parts a month for the Boeing 737 and 747 under a nine-year deal with the Seattle airframer, and is near to signing a deal for around 80,000 components a month for Air- bus as part of a joint venture with Pretoria-based composites specialist Aerosud.

The company is also preparing for final assembly of the Agusta A109 Power and A119 Koala helicopters.

Source: Flight International