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May 07, 2012

Blackland Aerospace Acquires Lewis Machine Company, Fuels Industry-wide Acquisition Boom

By Shawn Hebert, TMCnet Contributing Writer

Blackland Aerospace, LP, a manufacturer of aerospace components, has purchased East Hartford, Connecticut-based Lewis Machine, a producer of complex precision-machined jet engine components. Lewis Machine supplies engine parts for most U.S fighter platforms, which include the F-15 and F-16. The company also produces components for commercial airliners.

Gary Aicher, Chief Executive Officer of Blackland Aerospace, remarked that Blackland has an excellent track record with operational improvements. Blackland uses lean six sigma principles to improve quality, lead time and prompt delivery.

“Our focus on increasing competitiveness to grow businesses will help us take Lewis Machine to the next level,” said Aicher.

The President of Blackland Group, Mike George, noted that this is Blackland Aerospace's third acquisition in the last fourteen months, which represents the company's commitment to build an established platform. Blackland Group is the owner of two other component manufacturers -- Prikos & Becker, a manufacturer of aircraft devices that require metal fabrication assemblies such as laser welding, stamping and spot welding -- and Kessington, a manufacturer of small, extremely close tolerance components used in critical aerospace applications such as engines, landing gears, wheels and brakes.

“Lewis Machine is an excellent addition to our portfolio, with 50 years of history manufacturing highly differentiated jet engine components,” said George.

According to a report released in March by research firm Deloitte (News - Alert), the aerospace and defense industry is on the brink of a mergers and acquisitions boom. Deloitte is a firm of 45,000 professionals that provides audit, financial advisory, tax and consulting services.

“The era of mega-mergers of large defense contractors is likely behind us,” Deloitte states in their report. “However, there remain hundreds of suppliers to these large defense contractors that could gain scale and cost efficiencies by merging.”

The industry may see high consolidation in several specific supplier segments -- such as electronic and engine components , aero-structures, electrical power supply and systems monitoring -- where the markets are crowded and increasingly commoditized.

Edited by Rich Steeves
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