UK MOD SELLS DARA ROTARY WING AND COMPONENTS BUSINESSES TO VECTOR AEROSPACE
By Julian Nettlefold
BATTLESPACE Editor, Julian Nettlefold, interviewed Don Jackson, Chairman, President and CEO of Vector Aerospace Corporation.
On April 2nd 2008 Vector Aerospace Corporation announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Vector Aerospace International Limited, completed the acquisition of the Defence Aviation and Repair Agency (DARA) Rotary Wing and Components businesses at Almondbank and Fleetlands from the UK Ministry of Defence.
The Fleetlands facility, which provides maintenance, repair and overhaul support for the MOD Chinook (CH-47), Lynx and Sea King helicopters, will operate as Vector Aerospace Helicopter Services, Fleetlands. The Almondbank facility, which provides maintenance, repair and overhaul and component support for these and other helicopter platforms within the United Kingdom and Europe, both for MOD and other customers, will operate as Vector Aerospace Component Services Almondbank.
Vector indicated that the acquired DARA businesses will continue to meet the operational output in support of MOD requirements. The longer term intention is to expand the acquired businesses to include new customers and platforms, and to create a European centre of excellence in helicopter maintenance.
Vector believes the skill sets and capabilities of Vector’s current business align with the DARA businesses that have been acquired, providing an attractive vehicle for expansion into new international markets. The Vector Group already contributes to the MOD frontline effort through its UK operation, Sigma Aerospace, at Croydon, that supports the RAF C130 K Hercules transport and VC10 tanker fleets.
Don Jackson said, “We are proud that these two excellent businesses are now part of Vector. We see significant opportunities for growth and we shall now be working with our employees at Almondbank and Fleetlands to optimise this potential.”
“Was this a long battle to win this deal?” the Editor asked
“The RFP was issued two years ago to twenty companies, this was eventually shortlisted to two, ourselves and Augusta Westland. We paid £17m for the business which had a turnover of £80m in 2007.”
“Will there be any redundancies?”
“No, we are transitioning all the staff from their current MoD contracts and pension to the Vector employment scheme. We have made a commitment to long-term growth from the DARA facilities based on a competitively priced labour cost structure that will provide the workforce with increased opportunities and progression. We look forward to establishing a good working relationship with trade unions. During the transitional phase, our intent will be to minimise disruption to the workforce or output. Thereafter, our single aim will be to enhance business efficiency throughout the customer value stream in keeping with UK Defence Industrial Strategy.”
“How long has Vector Aerospace been established?”
“The Company was founded in 1998 when it brought together four well established businesses. Today Vector has 1,100 employees in four business units in Canada, the UK and the United States. I was brought in, as one of the investors, in 2003, to bring in a new management team to beef up the business which was flagging. Recently we appointed Declan O’Shea, formerly with SR Technics as our new President& CEO.”
Don Jackson holds all three appointments having assumed management responsibility for the Company in late 2003. He is also Executive Chairman of Northstar Aerospace, a Canadian public aerospace company. During his tenure at the helm of Vector Aerospace, Company share price has doubled. He has 30 years experience in senior executive positions across a broad range of industries in Canada, the US and internationally in both the entrepreneurial and corporate environments.
“Vector’s significant shareholders own more than 60% of its shares. The significant shareholders include institution