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Boeing to buy aircraft parts supplier KLX in US$4.25b deal

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Boeing Co is acquiring KLX Inc for US$4.25 billion in an all-cash transaction that includes US$1 billion of net debt, as the world's largest planemaker bolsters a fast-growing new division that offers maintenance, spare parts and other services to airlines.

[CHICAGO] Boeing Co is acquiring KLX Inc for US$4.25 billion in an all-cash transaction that includes US$1 billion of net debt, as the world's largest planemaker bolsters a fast-growing new division that offers maintenance, spare parts and other services to airlines.

The aircraft maker will pay US$63 per share and the deal is conditional upon the successful divestment and separation of KLX's Energy Services Group, Boeing said in a statement.

The deal is the largest struck so far by chief executive officer Dennis Muilenburg, who has been scouting acquisitions that would more than triple sales at Boeing's services business to US$50 billion within a decade.

Boeing has held preliminary talks with partsmaker Woodward Inc, according to media reports in February, and is deep into talks to form a joint venture that would give it control of Embraer SA's commercial jets.

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"We continue to see global services as our biggest market-growth opportunity," Mr Muilenburg told reporters at the company's annual meeting Monday, hours before the deal was announced.

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While Boeing remains focused on organic growth, the company is exploring targeted takeovers and investments to round out its product portfolio, he said. Boeing is also scouting deals in areas such as avionics - electronic communications or navigation equipment - where the planemaker is taking over work previously handled by suppliers.

Boeing created the services division last year by assembling an assortment of highly profitable units that support customers and altogether account for about 15 per cent of total sales. The foray rattled aerospace suppliers and enginemakers, which typically make the bulk of their profit tending to aircraft over 30-year commercial lives.

KLX, which was spun out of B/E Aerospace Inc in 2014 amid pressure from shareholder activists, got about 90 per cent of its US$1.49 billion in sales from aircraft parts and aftermarket services in its most recent fiscal year.

The remainder came from the business catering to oil and gas drillers. Revenue in the energy services division has tumbled 60 per cent to US$153.2 million since the separation as oil prices fell, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Speculation of a possible tie-up with Boeing has swirled since KLX said in December that it was reviewing options that included a sale. Boeing approached the aerospace partsmaker last year before the strategic review, DealReporter said in an account earlier this year.

Distribution Sales KLX would add about US$500 million in distribution sales to Boeing's Aviall parts subsidiary, which generates about 40 per cent of annual revenue at the company's services division, said Ken Herbert, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity.

Boeing would add between US$1 billion and US$1.5 billion to its annual services sales if it pulled off a separate deal with Embraer, which specialises in regional jets, Mr Herbert wrote in a report earlier this year.

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