UTC, Goodrich Have Large Presence in Business Aviation

 - November 1, 2011, 9:00 AM

Much of the discussion of the United Technologies (UTC) planned $18.4 billion acquisition of Goodrich has focused on the companies’ combined content on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and future prospects in the airliner industry. 

But UTC will add or gain content on prominent business aviation platforms as well.

Assuming shareholders and regulators approve the transaction, Goodrich and UTC’s Hamilton Sundstrand and Sikorsky Aircraft subsidiaries will be partners on the Gulfstream G650. Goodrich is supplying landing-gear components, flight-deck observer seats and engine controls for the Rolls-Royce engines powering Gulfstream’s largest business jet. Hamilton Sundstrand is supplying the primary electrical power generating system, emergency power ram-air turbine and power distribution boxes–potentially a $100 million business over the life of the program, the company has said. Sikorsky’s LifePort aftermarket division is providing interior cabin mechanisms including monitor lifts and console tables, and “stackable” galley appliances.

Numerous other connections will be made between the two companies: for example on the Embraer Phenom 100 and 300 light jets. UTC’s Pratt & Whitney Canada subsidiary supplies the PW617F-E and PW535E turbofans, respectively. Goodrich supplies the crew seats for both jets. Goodrich also specializes in helicopter health usage management systems (Hums), which it supplies on Sikorsky’s S-76D and S-92A. Goodrich’s “SmartProbe” air data system flew on the Sikorsky X2 coaxial rotor technology demonstrator.

“Goodrich is in a well established position in aerospace systems with products that are largely complementary to Hamilton Sundstrand as well as Pratt & Whitney,” Louis Chênevert, UTC chairman and CEO, told analysts September 22 after the acquisition was announced. “There’s excellent fit from nose to tail…The combination [of companies] will significantly increase our systems offering to airframers and allow greater integration across the platform.”

Consolidation, Expansion

Similarly, industry analysts saw the acquisition as largely an expansion by UTC giving the Hartford, Conn., conglomerate more presence in the aerospace industry. “I see the acquisition more as UTC expanding its portfolio of companies in the industry, possibly anticipating a return to strong growth in the business jet market and taking a bigger cut of the airliner manufacturing segment than it already receives via ownership of engine-maker Pratt & Whitney,” said Douglas Royce, with Forecast International.

“On paper, this looks like it’s a good fit with little overlap,” said aviation consultant Brian Foley. “This is part of an overall trend of consolidation in the aerospace industry.” Foley cautioned, however, that suppliers run the risk of becoming too big. That could make airframers reluctant to award too much of a model’s content to one large provider out of concern of losing negotiating leverage.

The junior partner of the UTC transaction with $8 billion in revenue (compared with $58 billion for UTC), Goodrich has made its own recent acquisitions of significance to business aviation. In September the Charlotte, N.C.-based company acquired Winslow Marine Products, of Lake Suzy, Fla., a provider of life rafts to the corporate aviation and helicopter markets. In August 2010, Goodrich acquired the cabins assets of DeCrane Holdings, supplier of business jet seating, furniture, veneers and cabin management systems, for $280 million. The assets were folded into the Goodrich Interiors business.

This June, Goodrich announced the shipment of its 50,000th business-jet cabin seat, manufactured by the Interiors business in Peshtigo, Wis.