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MB Aerospace continues on growth path with multi-million acquisition of further operations in USA and Poland

1 Apr 2014

Norbert deal sees group strengthen Michigan offering and establish new presence in Rzeszów

MB Aerospace, the international aerospace engineering group, has today announced the acquisition of aero-engine component manufacturing business Norbert Industries (“Norbert”).

The multi-million dollar deal to acquire Norbert’s operations in Michigan, USA and Rzeszów, Poland, means MB Aerospace now employs nearly 900 staff across North America and Europe.

Further, the acquisition expands the coverage of aero-engines supported by the group to more than 60 various OEM platforms across Commercial, Industrial Gas Turbines and Defence applications.

MB Aerospace chief executive officer Craig Gallagher said: “With its well-invested manufacturing facilities and deep customer relationships in North America, alongside its highly developed engineering resources in Poland, the Norbert business is an opportunity of vast potential to support the growth ambitions for MB Aerospace as a whole. This acquisition will also enable us to continue building an efficient and customer service-led organisation to serve our OEM customers as they continue to grow.

“Not only are we acquiring two highly-performing operations which possess attractive manufacturing capabilities and customer-service led management teams but we are also securing significant additional engineering and manufacturing capacity. We are particularly excited that this acquisition brings with it a significant level of engineering and manufacturing capacity in Rzeszów, Poland, where Norbert Industries co-located in 2008 after itself acquiring a manufacturing division from one of its main customers (Pratt & Whitney) with a significant presence in the region.

“Rzeszów is in the heart of Poland’s Aviation Valley, a region in South-Eastern Poland that has a strong aero-engine manufacturing community providing access to skilled capacity, deep engagement of the local government and technical colleges and manufacturing operations from a number of key industry OEMs, including one of our main customers in United Technologies. We are excited about the expansion into this new territory for MB Aerospace and see this investment as the start of a journey with the team there.

“We recognise the hard work that Kevan Johnston – President of Norbert – and his team have put into building this business, in particular the bold strategic decision taken in 2008 to acquire and establish a strong manufacturing presence in Eastern Europe. We look forward to welcoming them to MB Aerospace and supporting the Norbert team with the next stage in their development.”

MB Aerospace has ambitious plans to grow all its operations, and sees the Polish operation as adding an additional dimension to the group alongside the high skill, engineering and technology-focused manufacturing sites already developed in North America and the United Kingdom.

The enlarged group now has a range of fabrication and machining capabilities able to provide OEMs with engineering skills and services alongside the complex products found throughout aero, marine and industrial gas turbine engines across the full product life-cycle. Core product technologies include fan cases, combustion cases, inlet cases, turbine exhaust cases, turbine support cases, air transfer cases, intermediate cases, rotating rings, complex structural assemblies alongside a range of diffusers and sync rings.

Craig Gallagher added: “The Norbert acquisition is a further part of our strategy to progressively widen MB Aerospace’s capability footprint to address the critical service needs of our aero-engine customers. Historically, a typical aero-engine would have more than 400 unique suppliers; on the current and future generations of aero-engines this will be reduced to around 100 with tier one suppliers required to operate across a range of capabilities to serve their customers. Naturally this trend for OEMs reducing operating and transaction costs will likely drive industry rationalisation and we remain keen to play an active role in this consolidation activity with the backing of our primary financial sponsor Arlington Capital.”

MB Aerospace already supplies many key names in the aerospace and defense industries, providing supply chain integration services alongside the manufacture and repair of complex aero-engine components. Together with Norbert, the enlarged MB Aerospace group provides services and support to more than 60 separate aero-engine platforms across a range of commercial, defense and industrial gas turbine applications.

The Norbert acquisition takes the group’s headcount to almost 900 comprising 500 in the USA and 400 in Europe, with Norbert’s Polish operations adding 230 staff to the existing 170 current employees in Europe. Through our recent acquisition programme, MB Aerospace has sought to acquire operations with exposure to key OEM customers that manufacture a range of highly complex components supplied onto a wide range of aero-engine platforms. Alongside this MB Aerospace has targeted businesses with a rich level of engineering resource embedded throughout the business – with the acquisition of Norbert, the group will employ more than 150 manufacturing and quality engineers, providing significant bandwidth to robustly serve its customers and capitalize on the period of sustained growth anticipated across the industry.

Kevan Johnston, President of Norbert Industries, commented: “The Norbert teams here in Sterling Heights, Michigan, USA and in Rzeszów, Poland are thrilled to join MB Aerospace.

“This deal will harness the skills and capabilities of the teams across our combined businesses so that we can provide customers with a wider service offering. Similarly Norbert can benefit further from the industry knowledge and the financial backing that MB Aerospace brings with it to invest further in the business. We very much look forward to working with them and starting an exciting journey together.”

MB Aerospace’s key customers now include Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce, General Electric, Boeing, United Technologies Aerospace Systems, Pratt & Whitney AeroPower, GKN, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and the US Department of Defense.

Craig Gallagher added: “We see exciting opportunities in the years ahead, as the global airline sector is expected to grow significantly over the next two decades, doubling from its current 20,000 aircraft by the early 2030s.

“This growth is being fuelled by the rising demand for travel in Asia coupled with the need of American and European airlines to replace ageing aircraft, dramatically increasing the demand for the wide range of world-class manufacturing and aftermarket services we already provide to some of the world’s biggest aviation players.

“The global installed base of gas turbine aero-engine derivatives is nearly 225,000 units across various aerospace, defense and industrial applications and the majority of this fleet is expected to be growing and in service for several decades to come.

“The combination of our customer base along with Norbert’s clients is one of several powerful reasons why this deal is such a positive one for both organizations and the benefits to our expanded customer base will be significant. Following the acquisition of Norbert we remain active in pursuing acquisition opportunities that complement our overall strategy.”