GKN has announced that it has agreed to acquire Airbus’ wing component and assemblies manufacturing unit based at Filton, near Bristol, for £136m.

Airbus has also awarded GKN life-of-programme contracts on all existing Airbus programmes for the Filton operation. Contracts for significant work packages have also been signed by GKN to design and produce large-scale composite structures for the wing of the new A350 XWB (Extra Wide Body) long-haul airliner.

The Filton wing component and assemblies operation being acquired by GKN employs approximately 1,500 people and has been developed by Airbus as a centre of excellence for wing structures.

It is a manufacturing and assembly specialist for metallic wing components and assemblies such as leading and trailing edges, ribs and pylons. It supplies the full range of Airbus aircraft, including the A320 family, A330/340 family, A380 and A400M.

GKN intends to invest £125m over five years to further develop the Filton business as a global centre of excellence in composite wing structures as part of its participation on the A350 XWB.

With this acquisition announcement and the A350 work packages, GKN’s group order book for large civil aircraft structures increases from $4.5bn to approximately $10bn, while achieving what the company describes as a more balanced mix of business across the civil and defence sectors and between Europe and North America.

In 2009 it is expected that the Filton operation will have revenues of approximately £375m and will be earnings accretive and cash generative.