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Spirit AeroSystems Exiting Russian Joint Venture

Nov. 3, 2013
Partner to buy 50% stake ProgressTech gains more opportunity in North America

Spirit AeroSystems is exiting a five-year-old joint venture it formed with a Russian aerospace engineering group, Progresstech Group of Companies. Wichita-based Spirit AeroSystems designs and manufactures composite structural components for commercial aircraft, including fuselages, pylons, nacelles, and wing components, andE3 AWACS radomes, engine cowls, and rudders for some military supply programs.

"Both of our companies have benefited from the joint venture that began in 2007," stated CTO David Walker, who also is senior vice president - business development. "We value the talent and services provided to us by Spirit-Progresstech, and we are pleased this announcement supports our companies' priorities now and into the future."

Spirit’s 50% share of Spirit-Progresstech LLC will be sold to a member company of the Progresstech Group. The terms of the sale were not announced.

Spirit Aero explained its decision to sell the stake is part of the “strategic review” it has been pursuing for several months, and is “intended to better align resources across the company to meet customer demands.”

Since mid summer, Spirit AeroSystems has been revising its organizational structure and workforce. In September, it outlined 150 management and salaried workforce cuts. Previous to that, announced production workforce cuts at plants in Kansas and Oklahoma, and hired an investment banker to coordinate a sale of two of its plants.

The organizational problem for Spirit relates to cost overruns in several production programs, notably for Gulfstream business jets, for which it produces composite wing structures. Spirit also supplies products to several Boeing 737 commercial jet programs, to Airbus A32 program, and to Bombardier’s business jet program.

Spirit AeroSystems also stated that selling its stake in the Russian venture would allow Progresstech to expand in North America, while continuing its current engineering support to Spirit.

"Acquiring Spirit's half of the joint venture is a move aligned with our assets consolidation initiative that will strengthen Progresstech's global footprint and positioning as a leading engineering service provider within the aerospace industry," according to Progresstech president Vladimir Kulchitsky. "As a result of our successful relationship with Spirit, Progresstech is now taking steps to advance its international expansion strategy."

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