Key supplier Aubert & Duval to be acquired by Airbus-led consortium

Adrien Daste / Safran
(PHOTO: Adrien Daste, Safran), Safran and Tikehau Ace Capital announced that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the mining and metallurgical group Eramet for the acquisition of its subsidiary Aubert & Duval. The three partners intend to acquire 100 percent of Aubert & Duval through a new joint holding company that would be specifically set up for this transaction and in which they would have equal ownership rights.

Aubert & Duval is a strategic supplier of critical parts and materials the aerospace, defence and nuclear industries, with annual revenues of approximately €500 million and a workforce of around 3,600 employees based mostly in France. The company has end-to-end capabilities in special materials and superalloys, as well as nascent expertise in titanium, which are critical to aerospace, transportation, energy and defence applications.

This acquisition would allow Airbus and Safran to secure the strategic supply chain, for themselves as well as other customers, and new material development for current and future civil and military aircraft and engine programmes. It is also consistent with the initiatives taken in the last few years to support the French aerospace industry’s supply chain, and in particular the creation, with the help of the French State, of the Ace Aéro Partenaires fund managed by Tikehau Ace Capital.

Olivier Andriès, Safran’s CEO, said: “Aubert & Duval is a historical supplier of Safran with unique technical expertise in Europe. The planned acquisition will ensure national sovereignty for our most strategic programmes for disruptive civil and military aircraft engines. Given its industrial expertise in metallurgy, Safran will lead the operational management of the company. The transformation programme will reinforce customer confidence and create a national champion with a strong French industrial base capable of serving global markets.”

“Aubert & Duval, with its critical knowledge and expertise dating back more than a century, is a strategic supplier to Airbus and the entire aerospace and defence industry. Our sector, which has started to emerge from the COVID crisis, needs a solid partner to ramp up production while preparing next-generation technologies in aerospace”, said Airbus’s CEO Guillaume Faury. “With this acquisition and an ambitious transformation plan, we aim to restore the operational excellence and market confidence in Aubert & Duval to create, in the mid- to long-term, a leading European player able to face global competition as well as to reduce geopolitical risk of supply.”

“This joint acquisition sends a strong and very encouraging message about the acceleration of the restructuring, the transformation and the consolidation of the supply chain in the aerospace industry”, added Marwan Lahoud, Executive Chairman of Tikehau Ace Capital. “Together with Airbus and Safran, by bringing the capital and top industrial expertise needed to leverage the strategic excellence of Aubert & Duval, we are proud to contribute to support the recovery of the sector at the most critical time, when aeronautical companies have to invest again to accompany the revival of activity and project themselves into the future.”

The proposed transaction is subject to consultation with relevant employee representative bodies and all necessary regulatory approvals. The closing is expected in the fourth quarter of 2022. In the context of this operation, a “specific share” was set up by the French State within Eramet with the scope of certain strategic assets held by Aubert & Duval. This specific share will be replaced by a similar one within Aubert & Duval, upon completion of the transaction.

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