Aviation

Sonaca marks return to Wichita in LMI Aero acquisition

Sonaca Group, based in Belgium, will acquire LMI Aerospace, a supplier to Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems. The announcement of the deal comes several months after the company shuttered one of its two Wichita facilities, at 2621 W. Esthner.
Sonaca Group, based in Belgium, will acquire LMI Aerospace, a supplier to Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems. The announcement of the deal comes several months after the company shuttered one of its two Wichita facilities, at 2621 W. Esthner. File photo

LMI Aerospace has agreed to be acquired by a Belgium company that previously operated in Wichita.

The aircraft supplier said Thursday night the definitive merger agreement with Sonaca Group will preserve its St. Louis headquarters.

Sonaca will pay $14 per share in the all-cash transaction, representing a 52 percent premium over LMI’s closing share price on Thursday of $9.19 per share.

LMI has more than 100 employees at its 2853 S. Hillside plant. It also operates plants in Fredonia and Lenexa.

“The addition of LMI Aerospace to the Sonaca Group supports our vision to expand our capabilities in the United States,” said Sonaca chief executive Bernard Delvaux, in a news release. “Sonaca and LMI have both distinguished themselves in the industry through capabilities such as wing movables, wing panels, complex fuselage and structural assemblies, and together we will be able to strengthen our competitive advantage in the global aerospace market.”

The deal, which is expected to close in mid-2017, would mark a return of sorts of Sonaca to the Wichita area. Sonaca previously operated in Wichita for 11 years as Sonaca NMF until it sold its facility at 9313 E. 39th St. North to France-based Figeac Aero.

The announcement of the LMI deal comes several months after the company shuttered one of its two Wichita facilities, at 2621 W. Esthner.

LMI is a supplier to Boeing, Spirit AeroSystems, Honda Aircraft, Gulfstream and Bombardier’s C Series airliner.

Jerry Siebenmark: 316-268-6576, @jsiebenmark

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