Air Transport World

New muscle for SR Technics: FLS Aerospace buyout reshapes MRO landscape.(MRO)

Sporting a new post-Swissair logo and a portfolio enhanced with added Boeing capability through its $56 million acquisition of FLS Aerospace, SR Technics Switzerland is at the epicenter of expected consolidation in European MRO activity. Observers believe the agreement to purchase financially beleaguered FLS, announced in February, will dampen the intense cost competition in the market that has shrunk margins, while SRT continues to adjust to rapidly changing dynamics in the airline industry and consolidate its position.

The acquisition, supported by SR Technics' controlling shareholder 3i group and European private equity fund Star Capital Partners Ltd., "will strengthen its foothold in Europe and its global market position," the company states. The financial investor group took control of SR Technics in December 2002, 15 months after SAirGroup collapsed. 3i group holds 57.2%, Star 20.4% and SRT management 7.8%, with the remaining 15% held at large.

Commercially viable SRT was not forced into receivership with the rest of SAirGroup, but until the new investors stepped in, "We were owned by a company in liquidation and our future was unclear," CEO Hans Ulrich Beyeler told ATW in a recent interview. Adding to the MRO firm's challenge was the Fact that it was heavily dependent on business from Swissair and affiliates. …

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