April 23, 2017

France's Safran launches US$9b offer for Zodiac Aerospace

21 January 2017, 12:45 | Ignacio Smith

Safran's purchase of the plane-seat supplier will bring together two of France's biggest aerospace groups

Safran's purchase of the plane-seat supplier will bring together two of France's biggest aerospace groups

Aircraft-engine maker Safran SA agreed to buy plane-seat supplier Zodiac Aerospace SA for 8.55 billion euros ($9 billion) in an all-French deal that will unite two of the country's biggest aerospace groups. A previous takeover attempt by Safran failed in 2010 after it was rejected by Zodiac's board.

In a joint statement with Zodiac, Safran announced the move three months after Zodiac's main rival B/E Aerospace agreed to be absorbed by systems maker Rockwell Collins and more than six years after seeing a preliminary approach rebuffed by Zodiac's controlling family shareholders. "The technological complementarities will ensure that we accelerate domains as strategic as critical systems and the more electric aircraft, which make up 40 percent of Zodiac's activities".

The French state owns 14% of Safran.

Zodiac Aerospace will be merged into Safran's equipment business on the basis of almost half a Safran share for one Zodiac Aerospace share, triggering a special €5.50 per share dividend (€2.3 billion in total) for Safran's shareholders.

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Safran added that it has already identified €200 million of so-called cost synergies, 50 percent of which it estimates it could achieve in the first year and 90 percent in the second year, allowing it to meet its RoCE (return on capital employed) goal in three years.

Zodiac on Thursday posted a tweet saying it was beginning its annual shareholders meeting and presenting its proposed merger with Safran.

The companies said a subsequent merger between Safran and Zodiac would boost earnings per share from year one.

The pending merger will now be subject to approval from regulatory agencies, and is expected to be finalized by early 2018.

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