Singapore Air Show

Satair Asia on acquisition roll

 - February 18, 2008, 11:09 PM

Denmark’s Satair announced yesterday that it has agreed to acquire a 49-percent stake in the Chinese hydraulics repair specialist Ruibo.

Under the terms of the deal, Ruibo will serve the Chinese fleet but it expects in a few years to become a major player in a developing central market for aircraft maintenance in China. The acquisition strengthens Satair’s position within the components repair business in the region, already firmly established with a repair facility in Singapore.

Satair (Stand No. N21), which describes itself as a value-adding gateway between parts manufacturers and the makers and operators of aircraft, is celebrating 50 years in business. It has had a presence in Singapore for the last 20, and two years ago added local firm TPA, which has expanded its component repair capabilities, particularly for avionics.

“We are still in acquisition mode in this region,” Peter Lundberg, managing director Satair Asia, said here Sunday. “We see this part of world as a strategic one to be established in. It is actively growing and parts manufacturers want to be positioned in Asia either in their own right or in partnership with somebody like ourselves.”

Existing partnerships include one with Germany’s Diehl Aerospace. Satair is an authorized service station in Asia for the company, whose substantial installed base on the Airbus A380 includes the passenger cabin mood lighting. It also has a joint venture with cargo systems manufacturer Telair, whose equipment it repairs in Singapore.

The Copenhagen-headquartered company started out as a traditional distributor of spare parts but has expanded its scope to include component repair and other services. Lundberg said its focus is on growing faster than the market.

Rene Frandsen, Satair’s managing director Asia Pacific and China operations, said the company’s growth strategy includes both increasing its market share and developing new service offerings to expand its value proposition. “Market share can be increased either by acquisition or just by being better at doing what we do and offering a bit more. We could be viewed in the past as a traditional parts distributor, but now we are going for more service offerings.”

Its traditional business includes supplying consumables and expendables for maintenance. “In the past we have offered that on a product line basis,” Lundberg said. “Now we are changing in line with market trends, providing solutions to ensure an airline always has enough parts on the shelf.”

As a distributor, Satair also acts as suppliers’ “eyes and ears in the marketplace,” Lundberg added. “Being close to the customers helps us come up with new concepts and service solutions. Maintenance by hour is an escalating trend, and we are working with a couple of upstream business partners to do tailor-made maintenance by the hour of their components.”