Lady Nadine Cobham has slammed the takeover and break-up of the UK aerospace champion founded by her father-in-law by an American private equity firm.
“These private equity companies just do it for feathering their own nest and their friends making huge sums of money” she said of the acquisition and subsequent sell off of units of Cobham.
‘If this was another country, the deal would not have been allowed’ she said.
Lady Cobham is the daughter-in-law of the aviator Sir Alan Cobham who founded the namesake company in 1934 and is the widow of his son Sir Michael Cobham.
She highlighted that the firm may be unable to retain its revered intellectual property and the rights to its pioneering engineering technology that is used across the world under private ownership.
“They don’t care where the technology goes as long as they get their money from it” she said of the company that now owns Cobham.
US private equity firm Advent International purchased the aerospace company for £4bn last year. In the short period of ownership, they have already sold off some units of Cobham, recovering £2.7bn of the £4bn it paid for the company.
The biggest concern over the sale to a US company before the deal was approved -highlighted by Lady Cobham in a defence review – was that a range of ground surveillance and communications equipment would be transferred from British to American hands.
Lady Coham also noted that the company is less transparent and accountable due to the company now being in private hands.
‘The problem with a private equity company, is that it’s all hidden away. You can’t see what’s going on.’
Read more: UK approves £4bn sale of defence firm Cobham