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Spirit still looking to divest Okla. operations

Keywords: Tags  Spirit AeroSystems, Oklahoma plants, Larry Lawson, Boeing, Frank Haflich

LOS ANGELES — Spirit AeroSystems Inc.’s Oklahoma facilities remain up for sale despite the company’s failure to unload them during the past year.

The Wichita, Kan.-based first-tier airframe subcontractor will "continue to work with potential buyers for a divestiture of our Oklahoma operations," president and chief executive officer Larry A. Lawson said during an investor earnings conference call.

Spirit said last year that it had engaged the services of an investment banker to sell its Tulsa and McAlester plants (, Aug. 6, 2013). The two facilities were among the Spirit operations affected by the layoff of 360 employees the previous month (, July 25, 2013). Spirit also was the subject of takeover rumors at the time.

The Tulsa facility fabricates composite and metallic wing components for Chicago-based Boeing Co.’s 737, 747-8, 777 and 787 airliners, as well as metallic and composite floor beams for Boeing’s 777 and 787 aircraft, while military programs include the E3 Airborne Warning and Control System redomes, engine cowls and rudders, according to Spirit’s website.

The McAlester plant supports Spirit’s factories in Wichita and Tulsa with machined parts and subassemblies.

There is "a lot of interest" in the two facilities," Lawson said, adding that Spirit will "finish off" the current offering cycle before it decides whether to "hold on to these assets" or "go for cycle two" and begin another auction process.

Following a $209.4-million net loss in the second quarter of 2013, Lawson insisted that any divestiture of the two operations would not be a "fire sale" and that Spirit was committed to selling them as an "ongoing operation" (, Aug. 14).

The company could be under less pressure to unload the Oklahoma plants after posting net income of $143.4 million in the second quarter of this year (, Aug. 4).

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