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MB Aerospace in multi-million dollar Norbert acquisition

AMBITIOUS engineering company MB Aerospace has made further strides into the US and Europe through the multi-million dollar acquisition of manufacturer Norbert Industries.

EXPANSION: CEO Craig Gallagher is pleased with the firm's growth in Europe and North America. Picture: Chris James
EXPANSION: CEO Craig Gallagher is pleased with the firm's growth in Europe and North America. Picture: Chris James

The Motherwell company would not reveal the exact amount it paid in the deal.

Privately-owned Norbert was founded in 1971 and is run from premises in Sterling Heights, Michigan, where it employs 110 people, with a further 240 working in the Polish city of Rzeszów.

It provides a number of component machining services for the aviation industry, while also having specialist paint operations.

Clients include global players such as Lockheed Martin and Rolls-Royce.

MB Aerospace said that the ­transaction brings its headcount to almost 900 and increases the number of aero-engines it supports to more than 60 across the commercial, industrial and defence sectors.

Chief executive Craig Gallagher said: "With its well-invested manufacturing facilities and deep customer relationships in North America, alongside its highly developed engineering resources in Poland, the Norbert business is an opportunity of vast potential to support the growth ambitions for MB Aerospace as a whole.

"This acquisition will also enable us to continue building an efficient and customer service-led organisation to serve our OEM customers as they continue to grow."

Mr Gallagher indicated he was keen to build up Norbert's sites and believes a first venture into eastern Europe will bring great benefits.

He said: "Not only are we acquiring two highly-performing operations, which possess attractive manufacturing capabilities and customer-service led management teams, but we are also securing significant additional engineering and manufacturing capacity.

"We are excited that this acquisition brings with it a significant level of engineering and manufacturing capacity in Rzeszów.

"Rzeszów is in the heart of Poland's Aviation Valley, a region in south-eastern Poland that has a strong aero-engine manufacturing community providing access to skilled capacity, deep engagement of the local government and technical colleges and manufacturing operations from a number of key industry [original equipment manufacturers], including one of our main customers in United Technologies."

MB Aerospace can provide equipment including include cases for fans and turbine exhausts as well as a range of diffusers and sync rings.

Mr Gallagher believes the deal is another step along the way in the plans the group has to benefit from consolidation in the sector alongside a growing trend for more investment in air travel.

MB was formed following the management buy-out of businesses from Motherwell Bridge in 2007. It is now backed by US private equity firm Arlington Capital Partners following a secondary management buy-out led by Mr Gallagher.

He said: "Historically, a typical aero-engine would have more than 400 unique suppliers; on the current and future generations of aero-engines this will be reduced to around 100 with tier one suppliers required to operate across a range of capabilities to serve their customers.

"Naturally this trend for original equipment manufacturers reducing operating and transaction costs will likely drive industry rationalisation and we remain keen to play an active role in this consolidation activity with the backing of our primary financial sponsor Arlington Capital."

Kevan Johnston, president of Norbert Industries, said: "This deal will harness the skills and capabilities of the teams across our combined businesses so that we can provide customers with a wider service offering.

"Similarly Norbert can benefit further from the industry knowledge and the financial backing that MB Aerospace brings with it to invest further in the business."

In June last year MB bought Connecticut based engine component manufacturer Delta Industries for an undisclosed sum.

That followed on from the December 2011 purchase of Gentz Industries in Detroit, Michigan.

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