Airbus Selling Plant To GKN

Plane maker selling part of a wing-components site to the British engineering and automotive parts group in a deal valued at $240 million.

PARIS (AP) -- Airbus is selling part of a wing-components site to British engineering and automotive parts group GKN, the companies said Monday -- a deal valued at 136 million pounds ($240 million).

The plant in Filton, England, employs about 1,500 workers and manufactures wing components for a broad range of Airbus planes -- including the A320 and A330-340 families, the A380 and the A400M.

"The strategic logic is compelling. It brings a long-term partnership with Airbus and a strong order backlog which supports solid growth," GKN's chief executive officer, Kevin Smith, said in a statement.

GKN valued its deal with Airbus at 136 million pounds ($240 million). Airbus did not provide a figure.

GKN said it would invest 125 million pounds ($222 million) over five years to develop the Filton business. The deal requires regulatory approvals, and is expected to be completed by year-end, GKN said.

British unions praised the deal, saying it secured the future of manufacturing at Filton.

GKN said it has also signed contracts for significant work packages to design and produce large-scale composite structures for the wing of the new A350 extra wide body long-haul airliner.

The move comes after Airbus parent EADS in December tapped three European companies including GKN to buy all or part of six factories as part of a major overhaul aimed at boosting the European planemaker's fortunes.

EADS -- or European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. NV -- said then that it and Airbus were in talks on a full sale of the Filton plant, which makes wings and sub-assemblies, to GKN.

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