Belfast Telegraph

Spanish aeronautical firm 'eyeing up bid for Bombardier's NI arm'

Ryan McAleer

By Ryan McAleer

Spanish aircraft parts-maker Aernnova has emerged as a possible buyer for Bombardier's up-for-sale Northern Ireland operation, according to reports.

The aerospace group is among a number of companies to express interest in the aerostructures division, reports the Financial Times.

Bombardier put its operations in Morocco and Northern Ireland up for sale in May. Largely based on the former Short Brothers site in Belfast, the operation also includes plants in Newtownabbey, Dunmurry and Newtownards, employing a total of 3,500 people.

To date, US-based Spirit Aerosystems, UK group GKN and Airbus have all been linked with a potential acquisition.

The Financial Times cited two sources familiar with the sale process, stating that Aernnova had submitted an expression of interest after reviewing an offer document from Bombardier.

An expression of interest is an informal communication made by a potential buyer for the purchase of a business. It's often the starting point for a potential purchaser to place a value on a company.

The Spanish aerostructures group, which is owned by private equity firm TowerBrook, specialises in the design and manufacture of aircraft tails, wings and fuselage. It already supplies Bombardier's regional jet programme.

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Two weeks ago Bombardier announced that it had agreed a deal to sell the CRJ programme to Japanese group Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The central fuselage of the commercial aircraft series is designed and manufactured within Bombardier's Northern Ireland operation.

The company has said it's still reviewing the impact the sale - expected to close early next year - will have on its Belfast workforce.

Products for Bombardier's commercial aircraft were worth £160m for its Northern Ireland business last year.

Aernnova makes tail components for the CRJ 700, 900 and 1000 models.

It supplies 25 different aerospace programmes, with clients including Boeing, Embraer and Airbus.

Programmes for Airbus include the centre wing box and tail cone for the A220.

The complete wings and fuselage components for the A220 are made within Bombardier's Northern Ireland operation.

Although headquartered in Spain, Aernnova operates from 20 different locations around the world, employing a total of 4,700 people.

Belfast Telegraph

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