Secretary of State blocks Chinese buyout of Redditch aerospace business

Mettis Aerospace new factory

She may have approved the take-over of the UK aerospace business Cobham by an American private equity firm but that hasn’t stopped Andrea Leadsom, The Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy issuing a public interest intervention notice (PIIN) on the public interest ground of national security in relation to the anticipated acquisition by Aerostar, a fund established in China,  of Redditch-based Mettis Aerospace Limited. This means that the Secretary of State will make the final decision on whether the proposed sale should be referred to a phase 2 assessment, taking into account both competition and public interest issues.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is required to submit a report to the Secretary of State in accordance with section 44 of the Enterprise Act 2002 by 17 March 2020.

To assist with this assessment, the CMA invites comments on the impact of the transaction from any interested party on competition and public interest considerations with responses due by 10 January 2020.

In 2018, Mettis Aerospace group sales revenue were up 10 per cent year-on-year to £82.5 million which reflects ongoing growth in sales of new and next generation aircraft and engines as well as increased build rates.

Underlying EBITDA also rose by £0.6m during the same period to £14.6m. Operating profit for the financial year was £9.4m, down slightly on the previous year due to a number of one-off restructuring costs and increased costs associated with introducing an unprecedented number of new products to the market to facilitate the growth in sales.