Pennsylvania company completes acquisition of Vought Aircraft


Jun. 17--Vought Aircraft Industries is in the hands of its first new owner in a decade as the Triumph Group completed its acquisition of the Dallas-based manufacturer of aircraft structures and components Wednesday.

But the Vought name lives on in a muted form.

Triumph, whose shares (ticker: TGI) are traded publicly, is an aircraft parts and services company based in Wayne, Pa. It said the Vought operations will function as two divisions, both reporting to Elmer Doty, who has been CEO of Vought since January 2006.

At least initially, the nearly 3,800 employees at Vought plants in Dallas and Grand Prairie should see little change.

"We've got people from Vought and Triumph looking at things and looking for efficiencies, but we don't envision any sweeping changes right away," said Sheila Spagnolo, vice president of investor relations for Triumph. "We're still working through a lot of the details."

One division, Triumph Aerostructures -- Vought Commercial Division, will primarily supply major structures and components for Boeing commercial jetliners. Tail sections for Boeing 747 and 767 aircraft are produced at Vought's Marshall Street facility in Grand Prairie, and other commercial work is done at plants in Hawthorne, Calif., and Stuart, Fla.

The second division, Triumph Aerostructures -- Vought Integrated Programs Division, will primarily do military and business jet work and will involve Vought's Jefferson Street plant in west Dallas. It assembles tail sections and engine mounts for C-17 transport planes, cabins for Black Hawk helicopters and wings for Gulfstream business jets.

Spagnolo said Triumph allows its units to operate largely independently, doing what they know how to do, as the corporate parent provides financial and other resources.

The acquisition of Vought from the Carlyle Group, for about $1.44 billion in cash, stock and assumed debt, more than doubles the size of Triumph. The company already had three other businesses in Dallas-Fort Worth with about 250 employees.

As a result of the deal, Carlyle will now own about 31 percent of Triumph's common stock. The Triumph board was expanded to nine directors, with Carlyle appointing three including Doty.

The deal is the latest twist in the road for the legendary aviation company, which traces its heritage to Chance Vought, a pioneer in the U.S. aviation industry.

Chance Vought Aircraft Co. moved from Connecticut to the former Dallas Naval Air Station after World War II. It later merged with Ling-Temco to form part of what became LTV Corp. Vought Aircraft was created in 2000 when Northrop Grumman sold it to Carlyle in a leveraged buyout.

BOB COX, 817-390-7723