x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

ADAT bids for aircraft assets

The auxiliary power unit and landing gear units of aircraft are thought to be worth millions of euros.

Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies (ADAT), the government-linked airline maintenance firm, is bidding for assets in Dublin owned by SR Technics, a maintenance provider partly owned by Mubadala Development, which is closing its Irish operations. The auxiliary power unit (APU) and landing gear operations that ADAT is after are reported to be worth about ?10 million (Dh51.2m) and were put up for sale after SR Technics said in February it was closing the plant, where it employed 1,135 people. SR Technics, which has its headquarters at Zurich Airport in Switzerland, lost business when Aer Lingus and Gulf Air decided to discontinue servicing their aircraft at the Dublin base. Gulf Air's decision came as it negotiated a slew of contracts to try to trim its operations and break even next year. ADAT has offered to buy the plant and machinery of the APU and landing gear divisions in Dublin, including stock and other inventory, said Ian Wolfe, its chief commercial officer. ADAT is not bidding for the entire operation, which includes the Dublin maintenance facility's customer base. "In the event that there is a wind-up of the business, and no one buys the business as a going concern, we would be interested in a sell-out of the assets," he said. Irish media have reported that SR Technics has sold the assets of the two units to a "preferred bidder" revealed as ADAT, but Mr Wolfe has said his company had not been informed of any decision. "We are very much second-string player in this," he said. "If someone thinks it could be an ongoing business, they would offer to pay more for it rather than picking up assets in a fire sale." If ADAT won the bid, it would relocate the machinery to wherever it was most effective for ADAT's customer base, including the Middle East or the UK, Mr Wolfe said. SR Technics and ADAT are considered sister companies because of their mutual association with Mubadala, an investment arm of the Abu Dhabi Government. In 2006, Mubadala linked with Istithmar World Capital and Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, both controlled by the Dubai Government, to purchase SR Technics for $1.3 billion. Mubadala is the largest shareholder at 40 per cent. A year later, Mubadala announced it had acquired the Abu Dhabi-based Gulf Aircraft Maintenance Company from the Government and renamed it Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies. Last month, however, Mubadala excluded ADAT from a company prospectus saying "certain events have yet to occur for the legal transfer to become effective". SR Technics and ADAT have co-operated on bidding for aircraft maintenance contracts together, including the UAE airlines Etihad and flydubai. Mubadala is a recipient of the proceeds from Government oil revenues and plans to expand its asset base, which includes considerable investments in aviation and aerospace, threefold over the next five years. igale@thenational.ae