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GKN reportedly interested in Spirit’s Oklahoma plants

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, Dec. 2, 2013, at 10:27 a.m.
  • Updated Monday, Dec. 2, 2013, at 4:13 p.m.

British-based GKN is considering bidding on Spirit AeroSystems plants in Tulsa and McAlester, Okla., according to a report in the Daily Telegraph.

Spirit has received significant interest from potential buyers, company officials have said. And the company has narrowed down a list of possible buyers, Spirit CEO Larry Lawson said last month.

A sale would reduce Spirit’s exposure to the challenging Gulfstream G280 and G650 business jet programs, which have incurred major forward-loss charges.

The Tulsa plant builds the wings for the Gulfstream planes.

It also produces wing components for Boeing 737, 747, 777 and 787 commercial airliners.

“The deal would fit with GKN’s strategy of targeting expansion in the aerospace sector, although any acquisitions will have to meet strict cost criteria,” the Daily Telegraph said.

GKN has not yet submitted a formal bid, the newspaper said.

The timing of a sale is difficult to predict, Lawson said recently.

The 1.9 million-square-foot facility in Tulsa is next to the Tulsa International Airport. Spirit’s 135,000-square-foot plant in McAlester, 90 miles from Tulsa, builds parts and provides subassemblies.

The sale would include facilities, tools, equipment and programs – “the entire site as an ongoing operation,” Lawson said in August.

The company said it would package a deal in different ways based on buyers’ interests, he said at the time.

Spirit’s Tulsa plant began in 1962 as North American Aviation. In 1967, it merged with Rockwell Standard Corp., becoming Rockwell International.

Boeing bought the operation from Rockwell in 1996.

The Oklahoma operations were included in the 2005 transaction when Boeing sold its Wichita commercial aviation operations to Onex Corp., which became Spirit.

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @mmcmillin.

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