EBACE Convention News

Ruag purchases Pilatus subsidiary

 - May 9, 2007, 10:50 AM

Swiss group Ruag Aerospace is here at EBACE (Booth No. 1470) hot on the heels of its purchase of Pilatus Aircraft’s (Booth No. 700) TSA Transairco subsidiary in early April. The sale, the price of which was undisclosed, is retroactive to January 1.
The new owner said it intends to retain all 115 of Transairco’s employees and the management team headed by CEO Jason Mulcock.

Transairco, which operates one of Geneva Airport’s FBOs, is a sales outlet for the Pilatus PC-12 single-engine turboprop for some western European markets and French-speaking Africa, and supports the aircraft it sells. It also is a Dassault-approved Falcon maintenance center and has a paint shop capable of accommodating large executive aircraft. In addition, it is a European center for installing Hawker Beechcraft King Air Blackhawk upgrades. Transairco achieved sales of nearly CHF 50 million ($40 million) in 2006, reporting that as its most profitable year ever.

New owner Ruag is considerably larger than former owner Pilatus. Initially pieced together from various state-owned Swiss defense maintenance and manufacturing units, Ruag was set up as a joint stock company in 1999. It has since acquired a number of aerospace companies in an effort to reduce its dependence on the dwindling defense sector. Its share of sales to the Swiss defense department decreased from 86 percent in 1999 to 39 percent in 2006.

Ruag is comprised of five divisions: aerospace, electronics, land systems, components and ammunition. In addition to other activities, it operates business aircraft maintenance centers in Zurich, Bern and Lugano, Switzerland, as well as at Stuttgart and Oberpfaffenhofen in Germany. The latter, taken over from bankrupt Dornier, is one of the largest Cessna Citation maintenance shops outside the U.S. The aerospace division, into which Transairco has been integrated, is headed by Myriam Meyer.

The Ruag group employs 5,800 aerospace and defense specialists in Switzerland, Germany and Sweden. It announced sales of CHF 1.25 billion ($1 billion) and a profit of CHF 69.3 million ($57 million) last year.

Pilatus acquired Transairco in 1997 and integrated it into its maintenance business unit, along with its maintenance shops at its headquarters location in Stans and at Altenrhein airport. Maintenance generated 16 percent of Pilatus’ earnings last year, but the manufacturer now intends to concentrate on airframe production and increase output capacity, since it has a large backlog for the PC-12 and a full order book for its new PC-21 trainer.