GKN Buys Airbus Plant in Britain

Paid $245 million for wing-making plant

British engineering firm GKN said on Sept. 15 it had agreed to buy the plant in Britain owned by European planemaker Airbus, which has hit financial troubles owing to delays to its A380 superjumbo. GKN will pay 136 million pounds (US$ 245 million) for Airbus' wing-making plant in Filton, western England.

Airbus, which is owned by EADS, is planning to sell seven plants in Britain, France and Germany to cut costs but has struggled to offload them.

The Filton wing component and assemblies operation being acquired by GKN employs about 1,500 people and has been developed by Airbus as a center of excellence for wing structures.

"Filton is already a center of excellence in metallic structures for Airbus and we intend to invest in the operation so that it also becomes a cenetr of excellence in composite wing structures serving the global aerospace market," said GKN CEO Kevin Smith.

The announcement follows the decision by Airbus in December last year to select GKN as its preferred partner for the acquisition of the Filton operation on the outskirts of Bristol, southwest England.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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