GKN takes over Pilkington

Amid the gloom of lost jobs in manufacturing a bright light shone through yesterday when GKN Aerospace Services took over Pilkington Aerospace at Kings Norton.

The 210 employees were told at a meeting addressed by Marcus Bryson, president of GKN Aerospace Services, that the company would be expanded to contribute to the newly-created transparency systems business making glass for the aerospace, security and rail industries.The purchase price, said a company spokeswoman, was worth over £40 million.Turnover is running at about £42 million and the new business is looking at topping £60 million in two years by supplying whole systems and not just the glass.The Kings Norton site - a profitable unit - joins a business with operations in California, Brazil and Thailand and it takes GKN Aerospace Services into the market to provide front-end special glass on civil aircraft.Mr Bryson said the integration of GKN Aerospace Services' existing business with the former Pilkington Aerospace was part of GKN's strategy to lead in all its primary global markets."The new business is now the world number one in its field in the military aerospace market and the world number two in the civil aerospace market.

"This new operation will be ideally placed to expand its business around the world taking advantage of the combined expertise and global reach of the two operations."

Mr Bryson said Pilkington Aerospace had been stuck inside a business supplying glass to the automotive industry and it had not had the attention and the investment it may have needed.

"We are now bringing it into the aerospace business and aerospace is our business.

"We want a multifaceted approach and build an aftermarket type of business and a special products business in niche areas and we want to take a more automotive approach centred on final assembly.

"Automotive has a lean manufacturing process which is ahead of aerospace but GKN has the knowledge and has been through the Toyota and Honda automotive schools and we want to transfer that into aerospace."

600450 GKN takes over Pilkington glassonweb.com

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