European regulator agrees to sale of Italian aerospace parts unit.
The European anti-trust regulator has approved General Electric Co.'s (GE) proposed $4.3 billion acquisition of the aerospace-parts business of Italy's Avio SpA, after GE addressed concerns over possible conflicts of interest.
"The Commission had concerns that the transaction, as originally notified, would have enabled GE to obtain significant influence in the Eurojet consortium and access strategic information of its competitors. The commitments submitted by GE adequately address these concerns," the European Commission (EC) said in a statement.
In December 2012, GE, the world's largest maker of jet engines, offered to buy the aerospace-parts business of Avio from British private equity firm Cinven and Italian conglomerate Finmeccanica Group, for US$4.3 billion.
The deal did not include the Italian company's space assets.
Avio, together with Rolls-Royce of the UK, MTU of Germany, and ITP of Spain, is a member of the Eurojet consortium which designs and manufactures the Eurofighter Typhoon's EJ200 engine. Avio is a key supplier to this program and, by extension, to the Eurofighter project which competes with other combat aircraft powered by GE engines for sales in export markets.
The EC said that its investigation showed that the deal would have allowed GE to acquire a significant degree of influence in the Eurojet consortium and access strategic information of one of its main competitors in the international market for fighter aircraft.
GE would therefore have been in a position to prevent the Eurofighter from offering an alternative to GE-powered platforms.
In order to dispel the EC's concerns, GE offered a series of commitments which will ensure that the Eurojet consortium's strategic information is properly protected, and that Eurojet and Eurofighter can continue to participate in future campaigns for export sales.
Cinven had acquired a majority stake in Turin, Italy-based Avio for more than US$3.3 billion in 2006 from private equity firm Carlyle Group and Finmeccanica. Cinven holds an 81% stake in Avio and the remaining 19% is held by Finmeccanica.
Cinven had to abandon its plans to take Avio public last year, due to unsettled global economic conditions, especially in Europe.
Founded in 1908 as the aeronautics unit of Italian carmaker Fiat SpA, Avio designs, develops and manufactures aerospace propulsion components and systems for both for civil and military aircraft.
In the jet propulsion industry, Avio is a provider of low-pressure turbine systems, accessory gearboxes, geared systems, combustors and other components.
Source: Aerospace Manufacturing and Design / onlineamd.com