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Company Snapshot: B/E Aerospace (UK) Ltd

By John Simpson

Aircraft seat builder takes flight again

B/e Aerospace has a large fabrication facility in Kilkeel, Co Down making internal seats and other furnishings for a large range of passenger aircraft for some of the best known airlines across the globe.

The company has its largest UK manufacturing facility in Northern Ireland but it also has other operations in England. The registered offices are in Leighton Buzzard.

B/E Aerospace has expanded its business base in recent years. Between 2005 and 2008 turnover more than doubled. Then in 2009 turnover fell sharply as a consequence of the impact of recession on the aerospace industry. Much of the lost ground was recovered in 2010 as the order book increased. In 2011 this recovery has been maintained.

An analysis of the destination of sales shows that nearly a fifth of sales were to the USA, about two-fifths in Europe (including the UK) and just over two-fifths went to countries outside Europe and the USA.

Operating profits rose sharply in 2010 to the equivalent of 18% of turnover having fallen to just 12% in 2009. Pre-tax profits, reflecting the impact of interest charges on borrowed funds and some exceptional expenditure, were lower than operating profits.

For the first time in recent years, the company has paid a dividend to its parent company of just over £19m.

Employment in the UK business (including Kilkeel) fell slightly in 2010 to an average of 874 people.

The directors' report notes that it is anticipated that 2011 will have been "a year of steady growth with revenue and margins continuing to improve". Looking into 2012 they report that "the company is not dependent on external support and has adequate cash resources to continue to operate for the foreseeable future".

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