Airbus confirms sale of UK plant to GKN

Aerospace group Airbus announces sale of a UK plant to GKN

Aerospace group Airbus has confirmed the sale of its wing factory at Filton near Bristol, UK, to industrial group GKN.

The factory, which was put up for sale by Airbus's parent company EADS as part of its 'Power8' restructuring programme, will continue to supply Airbus

Business Secretary John Hutton announced that the government had agreed, in principle, to support GKN with £60m of repayable launch investment.

An additional £50m will be made available over the next five years for research and technology to support a number of high-quality Airbus projects.

The deal follows almost a year of negotiations and is part of Airbus efforts to attract outside investment to its plants to help fund composites development for its new A350XWB aircraft.

Selling Filton was originally part of an Airbus plan to sell up to seven European aerostructure plants in return for investment in new materials needed to make its new A350XWB plane light and fuel-efficient, matching Boeing's 787 Dreamliner.

But talks to sell two airframe plants in France and three in Germany broke down in the summer when financing dried up during the global credit crisis.

Airbus says it will spin off the unsold French and German plants to new subsidiaries and sell them when markets improve.

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