Exotic Metals Forming, a privately owned aerospace supplier headquartered in Kent with about 1,400 employees in Washington state, including Airway Heights, will be acquired for $1.7 billion in cash by Parker Hannifin, a large industrial company based in Cleveland, Ohio.
Exotic specializes in producing precisely engineered, high-strength, low-weight metal parts, typically made from titanium and nickel alloys. Its products include aircraft engine components and fuel and hydraulic tubes that can withstand high temperature and pressure.
Parker said it plans to have Exotic Metals operate as a standalone division within Parker’s Aerospace Group. Exotic’s chief executive, Bill Binder, and his staff will stay on to run the company.
The deal is the latest in a wave of consolidation in the aerospace supplier market that has seen many smaller companies swallowed by larger ones or by private equity firms.
In the Spokane area, Exotic Metals has applied to build a new manufacturing facility in Airway Heights on its 56-acre property on West McFarlane Road. The manufacturer, which has a 150,000-square-foot industrial building in Airway Heights, has plans for a second building that will double its 150-person workforce. The company expects to add a third building at some point, according to the plans.
Several huge mergers added to the trend last year, with Safran paying $9 billion for Zodiac Aerospace, including a string of Zodiac subsidiaries in Washington state, and United Technologies buying Rockwell Collins for $30 billion. In March, TransDigm paid $4 billion in cash for Bellevue-based Esterline. And United Technologies has a pending merger with Raytheon to create a giant aerospace supplier with annual revenue of $74 billion.
Parker is a 102-year-old company with $14 billion in annual revenue, of which about $2.5 billion is from aerospace, including flight control actuators, fuel and hydraulic systems and engine components.
Exotic is a leader in its field of metal forming. It’s been growing quickly, with about $450 million in annual revenue and a profit margin before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization of 30%.
Exotic produces complex parts for the F-35 jet fighter engine and for the geared turbofan engine that powers the Airbus A320, making engine-maker Pratt & Whitney its largest customer. It also makes tubes and exhaust nozzles for the LEAP engine on the Boeing 737 MAX.
“They tackle all the highly specialized, hard-to-make stuff,” said Parker chief executive Tom Williams on a call with Wall Street analysts to discuss the acquisition.
Parker’s director of communications, Aidan Gormley, said the acquisition isn’t about cutting costs but is a strategic move to strengthen the company’s engine component business in particular. And he said Parker can help Exotic expand.
“It’s a growth opportunity for us,” Gormley said. “And because we’re supplying major systems to lots of aircraft companies, it’s an opportunity to introduce Exotic parts to other Parker customers in the aftermarket.”
The acquisition has been approved by the boards of both companies and is expected to close by October, subject to regulatory approval.
)2019 The Seattle Times
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