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B/E Aerospace bought in $8.3bn share deal

By Staff Reporter

A Northern Ireland aerospace firm has been bought as part of a massive multi-billion pound deal.

US aerospace firm Rockwell Collins is to buy B/E Aerospace in a deal that will bring together two of the world's biggest suppliers to airlines and aircraft makers.

B/E Aerospace has its main UK manufacturing facility in Co Down, where it employs 800 people. The Kilkeel facility was acquired by B/E Aerospace in 1993 and has since then enjoyed a period of major growth and investment.

The Rockwell deal, if approved, is estimated to be worth $8.3bn (£6.8bn).

Last week, B/E Aerospace announced the creation of 50 new jobs at the Co Down plant, which makes aircraft seating.

The company, which is headquartered in Florida, plans to launch a recruitment drive in Northern Ireland, starting in Belfast this week.

B/E Aerospace at Kilkeel also recently announced a major contract to supply three seat classes - business premium, premium economy and economy - for American Airlines' new A350 Airbus fleet.

It's understood that the two companies make complementary rather than competing product lines, which may help secure jobs in Kilkeel. B/E Aerospace also revealed strong third quarter earning growth yesterday, with sales powered by strong demand from North American and Chinese airlines.

B/E Aerospace founder and chairman Amin Khoury said: "Our combination with Rockwell Collins represents an excellent outcome for B/E Aerospace's stockholders.

"We feel confident that this combination delivers significant long-term benefits neither company could realise on its own.

"We look forward to becoming part of Rockwell Collins and leveraging their technology to accelerate our long-term growth as we embark on the next chapter in the company's history."

The purchase of B/E Aerospace is subject to ratification by both Rockwell and B/E Aerospace shareholders.

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