Federal government in partnership to take over aero-parts manufacturer Sabca
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    Federal government in partnership to take over aero-parts manufacturer Sabca

    Sabca CEO Thibauld Jongen (right) with Belgian prime minister Sophie Wilmès

    The federal government has joined with Sabena Aerospace to take over the aircraft parts manufacturer Sabca, based in Haren.

    The partnership acquired a 96.85% stake in the company from previous owner Dassault, the French aircraft builder. It will now issue an obligatory offer to acquire the remaining 3.15%. The government’s share in the deal is being run by the Federal Participation and Investment Company (SPFI).

    Trading in shares in Sabca has been suspended since yesterday as news of the deal – worth a total of €74.57 million for the Dassault stake – was about to break. SPFI/Sabena are offering €32.08 per share, almost 50% of the last price of €21.06 before trading stopped.

    Sabca has its main site in Haren close to the airport, which employs 680 people. It also has sites in Charleroi (292 employees) and Lummen in Limburg province (90). It also has a subsidiary in Casablanca.
    Sabca was founded in 1920 to supply the growing aircraft market, and soon became sole supplier of parts to the Belgian Air Force and new airline SNETA, the predecessor of national airline Sabena, which ceased operations in 2001.

    We are very happy with the new shareholders, who are genuinely interested in supporting the growth and development potential of SABCA as a major actor in the Belgian aerospace industry,” commented Thibauld Jongen, chairman and CEO of Sabca. “This offers a very exciting perspective for the future of Sabca, as the profile of the new shareholders fits perfectly our needs for accelerating and intensifying the deployment of our strategic transformation plan initiated a few years ago.”

    We have a long tradition of investing in Belgian aircraft companies,” said Koen Van Loo, CEO of SPFI, speaking to De Tijd. “The takeover of Sabca and the bundling of resources with Sabena Aerospace will lead to the creation of a strong Belgian aircraft company.” The deal will also have the effect of anchoring Sabca in Belgium “so that we can maintain and reinforce the local ecosystem and local employment.”

    The deal must now be approved by the Belgian competition authorities. Sabca expects new new joint venture to become operational by the second quarter of this year.

    Alan Hope
    The Brussels Times