Industries Engineering & Maintenance (AFI KLM E&M) has moved to buy the U.S. company Barfield from Sabena Technics, a move which AFI KLM E&M’s executive vice president Franck Terner says offers the perfect opportunity to grow within the Americas.
The sale, which has been in the pipeline since September last year, is still subject to regulatory approval, but the Franco-Dutch group expects to finalize it within the first half of 2014.
“The AF-KLM group’s Transform 2015 plan includes growing its MRO activity, not just cutting costs,” Terner tells Aviation Week. “We have a strategy to grow our portfolio on the component market, both internally and with external acquisitions. So, the fact that Sabena Technic was selling Barfield was a good opportunity for us as this deal is exactly in line with that strategy. Miami is an excellent footprint for us to tackle the US, as well as the South American, markets.”
AFI KLM E&M itself has a joint workforce of over 14,000 supporting almost 1,300 aircraft operated by 150 international and domestic airlines. It already has one subsidiary in the U.S.: Aero Maintenance Group (AMG) based in Miami, Fla., and Atlanta, Ga., with three maintenance facilities.
Barfield, which currently employs 230 staff, started business in Miami in 1945 offering services ranging from repairs to the design of test equipment, and the distribution of spare parts for OEMs. It launched additional sites in 2000 in Tempe, Arizona and Louisville, Kentucky in 2003. That same year, it was bought by, which changed its name to Sogerma Barfield before selling it on to Sabena Technics in 2007, where it returned to its original name.
Terner freely admitted AFI KLM E&M expects to find “synergies” between Barfield and AMG, but denied Barfield would be completely absorbed or that there would be any immediate cost-cutting measures.
“Barfield is a very good brand and complementary to what we do with AMG,” said Terner, “so, for the time being, the brand will remain. In the short term, we have no plans for redundancies, but in the future we will have to think about how we can combine the two [companies].
“To be clear though: Barfield subcontracts some companies [for jobs], which we have the capability to do in AMG and vice versa. Just insourcing some of those contracts will immediately bring value.”