Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) is emerging as a likely candidate to buy or partner with one of Airbus’ manufacturing sites as the manufacturer pushes forward with its Power8 restructuring plan.

The Middle East’s newly formed aerospace company declines to comment specifically on whether it is interested in Airbus sites, but says: “Our growth strategy includes organic growth and growth through partnerships and potential acquisitions.

“As such, we are routinely and actively surveying the marketplace for opportunities.”

And the company admits that “at any given time, we are engaged in various stages of discussion with other companies about opportunities to work and grow together.”

Airbus is seeking partners to help the shift to composite technology at its Filton, Méaulte, and Nordenham sites; and exploring the possibility of mergers, sales and management or employee buyouts at Buxtehude, Laupheim, Saint Nazaire Ville and Varel.

But analysts see Airbus sites as a likely target for DAE as it seeks to grow its manufacturing presence, one of its six key aerospace business strands.


Richard Aboulafia, vice-president analysis of the Teal Group, says he is “convinced” that private equity investors will be involved in the change of ownership of Airbus’ sites because of the levels of investment needed.

But he adds that DAE could be a feasible alternative to provide the cash Airbus desperately needs to get its manufacturing strategy back on track.

“I can't help but think of the term deus ex machina - it's an almost impossibly perfect resolution, if DAE is willing to provide a major equity injection,” he says.

“It is still unclear whether DAE wants to be a traditional aerospace undertaking or private equity with another flavour,” he says, adding that in either case an agreement with Airbus would make sense.

“DAE wants companies with an established management team that can take the business forward. It’s a long shot, but they are serious buyers,” agrees another analyst.

Last year the company established its presence in maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) with its participation in a consortium including Abu Dhabi-based investment fund Mubadala and Dubai-based Istithmar of a majority stake in Switzerland-headquartered MRO business SR Technics.

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