Boeing Closes Global Aeronautica Deal

In March, Boeing said it would acquire the 50% share of a joint venture held by Vought Aircraft Industries.
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. --

Boeing

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has completed the acquisition of half of Global Aeronautica, a move that will allow the company to firm up its control of the 787 supply chain.

In March, Boeing said it would acquire the 50% share of the joint venture held by Vought Aircraft Industries. The completion of the deal makes Boeing an equal partner with Italy's Alenia Aeronautica in Global Aeronautica, which assembles the center section of the 787 fuselage at its North Charleston, S.C., plant.

The first delivery of the 787, once planned for mid-2008, is now scheduled for the third quarter of 2009. A portion of the delay has been attributed to setbacks at the North Charleston facility.

Boeing continues to be vague about the removal of Vought from the joint venture.

"I really don't think it was done because something wasn't working," said Robert Noble, Boeing vice president of supplier management. "This just seemed a natural change to make that would allow the program to fulfill its opportunity."

Noble said Boeing determined that its expertise in large-scale assembly would benefit the project, but the company credited Vought for its role in getting the joint venture started.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, and Noble would not say whether liquidity issues at Vought played a role in the change.

Last month, Standard & Poor's revised its outlook on Vought to stable from negative, and affirmed a "B-minus" rating on the company. S&P said proceeds from the sale of the Global Aeronautica share to Boeing were a factor in the improved outlook, as was the settlement of claims with Boeing regarding costs incurred on the 787.

Vought continues to produce the aft fuselage for the 787 at a North Charleston facility adjacent to the Global Aeronautica plant.