The acquisition secures ‘life of programme’ contracts on current Airbus aircraft, and makes GKN a strategic partner on the Airbus’ A350 WXB (Extra Wide Body) aircraft.

GKN says it intends to invest £125 million over a five-year period to develop the Filton business into a composite wing structure supplier as part of its participation on the A350 XWB, which will feature an all-composite wing.

The A350 XWB partnership will see GKN designing and producing large-scale composite structures for the wing of the long-haul aircraft.

“The strategic logic [of the acquisition] is compelling. It brings a long term partnership with Airbus and a strong order backlog which supports solid growth,” says Sir Kevin Smith, GKN CEO.

“Filton is already a centre of excellence in metallic structures for Airbus and we intend to invest in the operation so that it also becomes a centre of excellence in composite wing structures serving the global aerospace market,” he adds.

The Filton operation is expected to bring in revenues of around £375 million in 2009, and increase the GKN Group’s order book for large civil aircraft structures from US$4.5 billion to $10 billion.