A pending business transaction will weld Firth Rixson, a Liberty County aerospace manufacturer headquartered in Sheffield, United Kingdom, and Alcoa, a Pittsburgh-headquartered aluminum industry pioneer.
Alcoa announced the acquisition in June, citing a strategic alignment that will position the company for additional aerospace growth with a broader range of high-growth, value-add jet-engine components. According to the announcement, Alcoa will purchase Firth Rixson’s 13 operating facilities for $2.85 billion in cash and stock from private-equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners.
Firth Rixson’s sales are expected to grow 12 percent annually through 2019, a rate more than double the expanding global-aerospace market, the release said. Approximately 70 percent of Firth Rixson’s growth is secured by long-term agreements.
Additionally, Alcoa announced in early September a multiyear contract to supply aluminum sheet and plate products for Boeing Co. jetliners, in a deal valued at more than $1 billion.
Firth Rixson’s closed-die forging facility in Tradeport East Business Center was constructed in 2010 with a planned 200 jobs. In 2011, the company announced the introduction of an isothermal-forging press and a 20 percent facilities expansion.
Tradeport East employment numbers have soared above initial projections; 220 are employed, and 300 jobs will be created once in full production mode.
Liberty County Development Authority CEO Ronald E. Tolley said the development is favorable for the county.
“Since welcoming Firth Rixson to the community, we’ve been pleased to see its growth ahead of projections and the decision to locate innovative isothermal forging technology in Tradeport East,” Tolley said. “We welcome the company’s alignment with an industry front-runner that employs more than 60,000 people over 30 countries.”
Alcoa expects to close the transaction by the end of 2014.
The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies and remains subject to customary conditions and receipt of regulatory approvals, according to the release.
“The acquisition of Firth Rixson is a major milestone in Alcoa’s transformation,” said Klaus Kleinfeld, Alcoa chairman and chief executive officer, in a June release. “This transaction will bring together some of the greatest innovators in jet engine component technology; it will significantly expand our market leadership and growth potential. Firth Rixson increases the earnings power and broadens the market reach of our high-value aerospace portfolio and will deliver compelling and sustainable value for customers and shareholders.”