Aerostructures and component supplier GKN is mulling the future of the MRO businesses it inherited from its takeover of Fokker Technologies.

Fokker Services was part of its EUR706 million (USD779 million) acquisition of Fokker Technologies from owners Arle Capital last July. The operation specializes in redelivery of aircraft for lessors, VIP conversions, and MRO on a number of aircraft types including the large fleets of aircraft built by the company when it was an aircraft manufacturer until the 1990s.

At the time of the acquisition, GKN said it wanted to make cost savings equivalent to 3% of sales, and did not rule out selling off parts of the business.

And aircraft MRO is not a natural fit to the GKN business, although through its takeover of Volvo Aero in 2012 it did inherit some engine MRO work.

“(MRO) is not strategically why we acquired Fokker…it has a totally different customer base to the rest of our business, but there are some things we think we can bring to that business, aligning that with our existing MRO work,” explained GKN Aerospace CEO, Kevin Cummings, in an interview with Aviation Week.

“Long-term, we are learning the business, but if we can make some value proposition to our shareholders, then we will grow it, if we think it is a different market and it is deluding us from what we want to achieve then we will look at other options.”

Cumming says a decision on the future of the MRO businesses could emerge before the end of the year, noting that the company is always on the lookout to grow its capability and its work share on major commercial and military programs. By purchasing Fokker, the company opened the door to additional work on both the Airbus A350 and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

GKN’s activity on the F-35 is now valued at around USD2-3 million per aircraft, and the company is involved in the Lockheed’s Blueprint for Affordability as it looks to push down the price of each aircraft.

“We will remain always in acquisitions, we are looking to continue to grow both organically and acquisitionally,” added Cummings. “Fokker really quickly expanded our global footprint, in China, Turkey and India and more in Mexico which has been a strategic target of ours, those all came with that, and were a real plus for us.”

As part of the integration, Fokker’s four business divisions, Fokker Aerostructures, Fokker Elmo (a specialist in aircraft wiring and electronics), Fokker Landing Gear and Fokker Services have been realigned under a single management structure, dubbed “One Fokker.”

The takeover makes GKN the number two supplier in aerostructures behind Spirit AeroSystems and number three in electrical systems, behind Safran and Latécoère. GKN is now also a minor shareholder in the NH90 military helicopter program with a 5.5% holding in the project, the first time the company has had a share in a major aircraft program has opposed to being a supplier to it.

“At times we will play as a Tier 1 (supplier) and at other times we will be an invested partner but we will take that on a case-by-case basis, and keep some balance,” said Cummings.

GKN is now producing components for 80 aircraft, “20 of which are in a growth mode.”

Fokker’s Elmo electric wiring division was also major strategic pull for GK. As electrification of aircraft becomes more commonplace, GKN sees an opportunity for new solutions that could see wiring and electrical systems integrated into aerostructures, reducing weight and cost. Both companies had been working on this separately but are now combining that experience to broaden their capability and offer it to the manufacturers.

“We see it as a major plus, we have a real offering and a real strong position, we use it very well,” explained Cummings. “As the wiring systems on aircraft become more integral, more complex, we are suited if companies want smarter structures…both on the airframe and on the engines.”

Both companies were working on the capability, “but we are now better as a whole than working as two separate pieces. We are looking to integrate Fokker well and ramp up on the programs,” added Cummings.

GKN expects the full acquisition of Fokker will be complete by the end of 2017.