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Description

Spirit AeroSystems is the world's largest first-tier aerostructures manufacturer. The company builds several important pieces of Boeing aircraft, including the fuselage of the 737, portions of the 787 fuselage, and the cockpit section of the fuselage (referred to as "Section 41" by Boeing) of nearly all of its airliners. Spirit also produces fuselage sections and front wing spars for the Airbus A350. Spirit's main competition comes from Triumph Aerostructures - Vought Aircraft Division, Collins Aerospace, Leonardo, and Kawasaki Heavy Industries.

History

Spirit was formed when Boeing Commercial Airplanes sold its Wichita division to investment firm Onex. Boeing Defense, Space & Security retained its military business in Wichita, which lay on neighboring land, until Boeing sold most of those properties to Air Capital Flight Line. The Wichita division was responsible for construction of many important aircraft in Boeing's history, including the B-29 Superfortress, B-47 Stratojet, and B-52 Stratofortress. Spirit can trace its legacy back even further to Stearman Aircraft, which was founded on the same site; Stearman later became part of Boeing. Spirit also includes North American Aviation's former Tulsa and McAlester facilities (both in Oklahoma), as well as additional facilities in Kinston, NC, Prestwick, Scotland, Saint-Nazaire, France, and Subang, Malaysia.

In June 2016, it was announced that Tom Gentile was named CEO, replacing Larry Lawson.

Acquisitions

On January 31, 2006, BAE Systems announced it had agreed to sell its aerostructures business, based at Glasgow Prestwick Airport and Samlesbury Aerodrome, to Spirit. The BAE unit, which was renamed Spirit AeroSystems (Europe) Ltd., is a major supplier to Raytheon (5%), Airbus (80%), and Boeing (15%). The transaction was completed on April 1, 2006. Spirit paid GBP 80 million for the business.

On October 31, 2019, Spirit acquired Bombardier Aviation's aerostructures activities and aftermarket services operations in Northern Ireland (Short Brothers) and Morocco, and its aerostructures maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in Dallas. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2020 subject to regulatory approval. The deal gives Spirit a bigger place in Airbus' supply chain, in particular with the wings for the Airbus A220 that are produced in the Belfast plant.

Spirit AeroSystems

In 2010, 96% of Spirit's revenue came from its two largest customers: 85% of sales were from Boeing, 11% from Airbus. In 2009 these two customers represented 96% of sales for Spirit as well.

After planning to take Spirit public, at initial public offering on November 21, 2006, the firm's stock rose 10% on the first day. In November 2006, Onex owned 58% of Spirit, which resulted in 92% of voting power, as its shares conferred "supervoting" power. The chief architect of the Onex purchase of Spirit was Nigel S. Wright, who was later Chief of Staff for the Canadian Prime Minister until his resignation as part of an expense scandal. In August 2014 the Onex Group sold all of its remaining shares of Spirit. Over the course of the nine-year investment, the Onex Group received aggregate proceeds of approximately $3.2 billion on its initial $375 million investment.

Former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-MO) serves as a labor consultant for Spirit and sits on its board of directors.

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