Smiths Aerospace Sold To GE

January 22, 2007
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GRAND RAPIDS — Pending regulatory approval, Smiths Group PLC will sell its rapidly growing Grand Rapids-based division, Smiths Aerospace, to Connecticut's General Electric Co. for $4.8 billion. The deal is part of a likely sell-off of several divisions by the British conglomerate in an effort to strengthen shareholder value, and strengthens GE's position in the robust aerospace market.

Smiths Aerospace spokeswoman Jennifer Villarreal said, "It's an acquisition of a complementary business. It will expand both of the companies." That was a sentiment mirrored last week by GE Chairman Jeff Immelt, as both GE and Smiths assured that no layoffs or plant closures are planned.

Smiths Aerospace — formed 20 years ago with Smiths purchase of Lear Siegler — provides key parts for military and commercial aircraft such as the Joint Strike Fighter, Boeing 737 and the new 788, and the Airbus A320 and new A380. GE Aviation's principal offering is engines.

Acquisitions of companies in this segment recently have avoided the negative effects associated with large corporate consolidation. The acquisition of several General Dynamics assets in Muskegon two years ago by L3 Communications had virtually no impact on local operations.           

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