US aviation firm buys Kilkeel B/E Aerospace for over £5bn

A B/E Aerospace Super Diamond business class seating layout
A B/E Aerospace Super Diamond business class seating layout

Leading international aviation interiors business B/E Aerospace has been bought by US-based aerospace and defense electronics and communications firm Rockwell Collins in a deal worth more than £5 billion.

The south Down firm which is itself US-owned,employs 800 people and supports many more jobs in the area and is the world’s leading manufacturer of aircraft cabin interior products.

The deal reached will see Rockwell Collins acquire the business for around $6.4 billion (£5.24bn) in cash and stock, plus the assumption of $1.9bn (£1.55bn) in net debt.

The transaction combines Rockwell Collins’ capabilities in flight deck avionics, cabin electronics, mission communications, simulation and training, and information management systems with B/E Aerospace’s range of cabin interior products, including seating, food and beverage preparation and storage equipment, lighting and oxygen systems, and modular galley and lavatory systems for commercial airliners and business jets.

Based in Iowa, Rockwell said the acquisition would significantly increase its scale and diversify its “product portfolio, customer mix and geographic presence”.

“This transformational acquisition is consistent with our strategy to accelerate growth and build value through market-leading positions in cockpit and cabin solutions,” said Rockwell Collins chairman, president and CEO Kelly Ortberg.

“We see tremendous opportunity to better serve our commercial aviation, business jet and military customers through broader offerings.

“We firmly believe there are revenue synergies that create meaningful upside to our business case.

“Additionally, our combined portfolio uniquely positions us to integrate cabin products, smart network technologies and connectivity solutions to significantly enhance aircraft uptime and airline profitability while improving the experience of passengers and airline personnel.”

From Florida, B/E Aerospace found founder and chairman, Amin Khoury, said the deal represented an “excellent outcome” for the business.

“We feel confident that this combination delivers significant long-term benefits neither company could realize on its own.

“We look forward to becoming part of Rockwell Collins and leveraging their technology to accelerate our long-term growth as we embark on the next chapter in the company’s history.”