Move ensures Spanish company's employment and research spending for next three years

Spanish aeroengine manufacturer ITP has fallen into the hands of engineering group Sener, which agreed to pay a bargain price to gain a majority stake in the company last week. Sener will pay €66 million ($81 million) in cash for an indirect share of 26.5% in ITP, and will guarantee the company's employment, research spending and net asset value for the next three years.

Spanish state holding company SEPI owned 50% of Turbo 2000, with Sener owning the other half. Turbo 2000 in turn owned 53%of ITP; the other 47% was owned by Rolls-Royce. Sener has been seen as the favoured bidder for SEPI's stake in Turbo 2000 since the announcement of the sale in October (Flight International, 28 October-3 November). Its €66 million payment values the 53% stake at €132 million, just over SEPI's minimum acceptable price of €126.5 million. Although seven other groups expressed an interest, SEPI says, only Sener lodged a formal offer; R-R refused to bid.

The move is unlikely to lead immediately to more consolidation in the European engine industry. As part of the sale agreement, Sener has agreed to remain the majority shareholder until the end of 2006. ITP's relatively small size means that a merger with any other European player would leave it the minority partner.

Sener promises to keep research and development spending at its current level, and guarantee the company's net asset value (assets less liabilities) above 75% of its current level for the next three years.

ITP was created by the Spanish government and R-R in 1989, and is involved in the Eurojet EJ200 (the Eurofighter Typhoon engine) and the Europrop TP400 (for the Airbus Military A400M airlifter). It manufactures low-pressure turbines for the R-R Trent 500 and 900, and is a subcontractor for Rolls-Royce North America and Honeywell, manufacturing low-pressure turbines, nozzles and other components.

Source: Flight International