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Boeing in takeover talks to buy parts supplier

PHOTO | BBC

Boeing is in talks to take over Spirit Aerosystems, the supplier that has been involved in many of its recent manufacturing issues.

The company, a major global air parts supplier, was spun out of Boeing in 2005 as part of a cost-cutting drive.

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It continues to rely on Boeing for more than two-thirds of its business.

Boeing has been under pressure over its manufacturing pipeline after a piece of one of its planes blew off in mid-air in January.

The US government’s review of the blowout found that bolts meant to fasten the panel had been removed at Boeing’s factory in Washington, apparently to fix damaged rivets, and had never been re-installed.

The piece had been made by Spirit, before being sent to Boeing for final assembly.

This week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which has been examining Boeing since the incident, gave Boeing 90 days to develop a “comprehensive action plan” for improving its safety management systems.

Boeing has already been working closely with Spirit to address a spate of quality issues, which have caused delays to plane deliveries and led to the appointment of a new chief executive at Spirit last year.

In a statement on Friday to Reuters news agency, Boeing said: “We believe that the reintegration of Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems’ manufacturing operations would further strengthen aviation safety, improve quality and serve the interests of our customers, employees, and shareholders.”

Following reports of takeover talks, shares in Spirit jumped by more than 10% on Friday, giving it a market value of more than $3.7bn.

But shares in Boeing slid more than 1% after the discussions were first reported in the Wall Street Journal.

Spirit, which the Journal said was also considering a sale of its Northern Irish unit to Airbus, did not respond to the BBC’s request for comment.

Spirit employs more than 20,600 people around the world, including about 3,400 in Belfast and 1,120 in Prestwick.

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