Airbus, GKN Close Filton Deal

 - September 15, 2008, 9:47 AM

Britain’s GKN has agreed to buy the wing component and assemblies manufacturing unit at Airbus’s Filton, UK plant, the companies announced today. The estimated £136 million ($244 million) contract, still subject to regulatory approval, gives the UK company responsibility for producing wing leading and trailing edges; outer wingbox assemblies and shroud boxes; single-aisle wing electrical harnesses; ribs and other machined parts; pipe forming, ducting and other detail components. The transfer involves some 1,500 workers, or roughly 25 percent of Airbus’s total workforce at Filton.

The factory builds wing parts and assemblies for the full range of Airbus airplanes, including the A320 family, A330/340 family, A380 and A400M. According to Airbus, GKN has agreed to fully support the Airbus Power8 initiative and invest further in the unit “in order that Filton will continue to play its important role in Airbus’s current and future programs.” GKN said it plans to invest £125 million ($224 million) over five years to further develop the Filton business as global center of excellence in composite wing structures as part of its participation on the A350XWB.

“This sale is an important element of our restructuring program Power8,” said Airbus president and CEO Tom Enders. “It will provide new opportunities for those involved and will help to strengthen the Filton aerospace site and the region as a whole. For Airbus, this decision will allow us to concentrate on our role of being an aircraft architect and integrator. Our remaining wing, landing gear and fuel systems business at Filton is core to this objective.”

Expected to close by year-end, the transaction includes major Airbus A350XWB work packages for the composite wing fixed trailing edge, which GKN plans to manufacture locally.

GKN said it expects the Filton operation will generate roughly £375 million ($673 million) in revenues next year.