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Industry News
Airbus sells Laupheim site to Diehl/Thales, Filton to GKN

 Airbus (Toulouse, France) reports that a joint venture group consisting of Diehl Stiftung and Co. KG (Nuremberg, Germany) and Thales (London, U.K.) signed a contract for the purchase of Airbus' site in Laupheim, Germany, on Aug. 1. Assuming the transaction passes muster with antitrust authorities, all operational

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Posted on: 9/15/2008
High-Performance Composites

 Airbus (Toulouse, France) reports that a joint venture group consisting of Diehl Stiftung and Co. KG (Nuremberg, Germany) and Thales (London, U.K.) signed a contract for the purchase of Airbus' site in Laupheim, Germany, on Aug. 1. Assuming the transaction passes muster with antitrust authorities, all operational business and assets of the Laupheim site will be integrated, beginning Oct. 1, this year, into an independent joint venture company, of which Diehl will own 51 percent and Thales 49 percent. Thales is part of the Diehl Group's Aerosystems corporate division.

The Airbus plant in Laupheim employs 1,100 workers and has annual revenue of €240 million ($358 million USD). It produces cabin interiors, crew compartments and air ducts for all Airbus products (A320 family, A330/A340 family and A380). The contract with Diehl/Thales also includes major A350 XWB cabin work-packages such as the crew rest compartments and the complete cabin interior, including cabin ceiling and sidewall panels as well as overhead bins.

"The sale of Laupheim is an important element in our Power8 restructuring program — it is beneficial for Airbus, our colleagues at Laupheim and our partner Diehl/Thales," says Tom Enders, Airbus president and CEO. "It will further strengthen our ability to concentrate on our core business [and create] a strong supplier for major cabin components."

Meanwhile, the London Mail reported on Aug. 10 that GKN Aerospace (Cowes, Isle of Wight, U.K.) had reached an agreement with Airbus to purchase Airbus' Filton, U.K., facility for £150 million ($284 million USD). Although there was much speculation that such a deal was imminent, HPC was unable to confirm the report before this issue went to press. According to the London Mail story, GKN will continue to use the factories, which employ 1,500 people, to provide components for Airbus but at a lower cost. It is likely that the factory will become a center of excellence for carbon fiber composites, particularly composite wings, and will supply parts for the A350 XWB.

GKN had said in a July 15 statement that given the complexity of both the sale of the Filton operations and the award of associated A350 XWB packages, it would be difficult to predict when a conclusion to the negotiations might be reached.

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