GKN purchase of Airbus facility hits snags

GKN is trying to buy Airbus' Filton, U.K., facility, but negotiations are said to be stalled.

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According to a recent report in the Telegraph of London, a plan by Airbus Industrie (Toulouse, France) to sell its Filton, U.K. factory to engineering company GKN Aerospace (East Cowes, Isle of Wight, U.K.) has run into trouble, but the two sides continue to be in advanced negotiations.

According to the report, the obstacles have less to do with the sale price of the site and more with securing long-term contracts for work as a component supplier on future Airbus aircraft. GKN was named preferred buyer for the Filton factory, near Bristol, last December.

The report says Filton will continue to make aircraft wings for the Airbus family of jets, and GKN hopes to turn the factory into a center of excellence for composites manufacturing. GKN also is negotiating a work package for the new Airbus A350 XWB, whose structure will be strongly composites intensive. The U.K. government is considering providing up to £100 million in aid to help get the A350 project off the ground.

Airbus also is attempting to sell facilities in France and Germany as part its Power8 cost-reduction plan. Sales of those plants have been met by heavy union opposition.

Information: www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2008/07/18/cnairbus118.xml