Chinese aerospace and mining firm Shaanxi Ligeance Mineral Resources (SLMR) announced today it is to buy aerospace parts manufacturer Gardner Aerospace.
Derby-headquartered Gardner makes parts which are used by Airbus and is currently one of the high-flying businesses held by City veteran Jon Moulton's Better Capital.
SLMR, along with its subsidiary Chengdu Aerospace Superalloy Technology (CAST), plans to pick up Gardner for £326m in cash and is being advised by Jason Steen's Steen Associates, Herbert Smith Freehills and KPMG.
"The acquisition of Gardner will allow us to serve our customers better – in China and the rest of the world – for decades to come," said Lizhi Wang, vice president of SLMR and chief executive of CAST. "With the management team at Gardner together with our advisers – we intend to further consolidate the global aerospace supply chain through careful strategic acquisitions."
Jim Heaviside, an executive from CAST who will be joining the Gardner board, commented: "As an ambitious trade buyer, we think this is a very exciting development for Gardner as it moves from financial ownership towards a strategic owner with clear plans for further growth domestically and globally."
Jason Steen added:
This is easily the most important aerospace transaction for some time. The Chinese are entering the UK aerospace supply chain in a meaningful way and that's good news for Britain and for the sector as a whole. They have diligently investigated the opportunity and I see it as the beginning of exciting things to come – both here and in Europe.
The deal still needs to meet certain regulatory approvals, as well as gain sign off from Gardner's current shareholders.