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AAR restructure enters ‘third phase’

When you think about key trends in the commercial MRO market in recent years, one of the most heard buzzwords has been “diversification”.

There has been a whole host of acquisitions or agreements that offer MROs access to new markets – take AFI KLM E&M’s recent purchase of 50 per cent of Tradewinds or AJW Aviation’s strategic partnership with OEMs (read more in the next issue of ATE&M). 

Others have focused on increasing their in-house capabilities. Magnetic MRO, for example, has added CAMO authorisation, asset management and engine stand leasing to its list of services in the last three months alone.

In the US meanwhile, AAR has been making efforts to streamline its businesses and focus on two core activities: aviation services – MRO, parts provision and supply chain management; and expeditionary services – airlift and mobility services. Yesterday (May 26) the company announced it was now entering phase three of its restructure.

The first phase was the $725m-sale of Telair Cargo to TransDigm back in March. The proceeds from this deal have been used to reduce the group’s debt during its second phase of change, which also saw AAR launch a $135m share buyback scheme. 

Yesterday AAR announced the preliminary results of this scheme and it is to purchase and retire some 4.2 million of its shares – close to 11 per cent of its total stock.

The third and final phase will see the company divest itself of its aerostructures machining business as well as assets from its airlift and MRO businesses which are "no longer part of its strategy".

"These include certain aircraft and inventory no longer required by our airlift business, aircraft in our lease portfolio, as well as inventory in our supply chain and MRO businesses that is in excess to our needs or where we are exiting certain product lines," said David Storch, CEO of AAR.

While AAR's statement is tantalisingly scant on detail as to what these disappearing product lines might be, given the changes ongoing in the North American fleet those relating to older, smaller aircraft seem likely.

The group has also announced that it has cut its "corporate costs" by $8m a year.
The idea is that following this pruning, AAR will be better placed to blossom in its chosen markets.

Storch concluded: "We expect to invest opportunistically in expanding our service, supply chain and mission critical operational capabilities to expand our leadership positions."

Its a consolidate to accumulate approach. And perhaps one we might see more of in future.

 

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