Exclusive: Boeing mulls shedding Airbus work in potential Spirit Aero deal

March 20, 2024 3:04 pm

[Source: Reuters]

Boeing (BA.N), opens new tab is looking at how Spirit AeroSystems (SPR.N), opens new tab could shed or sharply reduce its ties to Airbus (AIR.PA), opens new tab, as the supply-chain giant’s work for the European planemaker poses complications in rival Boeing’s attempt to acquire its former subsidiary.

The U.S. planemaker is exploring offloading or redeploying specific Spirit businesses that supply key Airbus components if it reaches a deal, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Boeing and Airbus are the world’s only major commercial aircraft makers, and both are trying to solve quality problems and hold down costs as the former deals with a crisis caused by a mid-air cabin panel blowout on a 737 MAX 9 in January.
While Boeing had previously weighed bringing Spirit back in to the fold, the Jan. 5 incident accelerated efforts as Boeing revisits the two-decade-old decision to separate a critical part of its manufacturing business to save money.

Boeing is also fine-tuning a defensive strategy in case European regulators take issue with Airbus relying on its main rival for key components in its supply chain, some of which are custom-made using proprietary design and technology.
The Airbus business generated a fifth of Spirit Aero’s revenue in 2023, making it sizeable enough to factor in to a potential deal, though Boeing could complete a Spirit purchase without a sale of those businesses.

However, Boeing does not want to own Spirit Aero’s Airbus business, which includes wing-making for the small A220 jet in Belfast, Northern Ireland that loses money, the sources said.
The four sources requested anonymity because the deliberations are confidential.
Spirit, which has a market value of close to $3.8 billion, has already held exploratory talks with Airbus about selling the plant, Reuters reported this month.


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