As we were lead to believe in an article in early June, the US group United Technologies Corporation (UTC) has just sold their subsidiary Sikorsky helicopters. After six weeks of negotiations, it was finally the american defense group Lockheed Martin who, on 20 July, bought Sikorsky for an amount of $ 9 billion, just over seven billion dollars if you take into account tax benefits resulting from the transaction. Subject to approval from the US authorities, the transaction is expected to become effective in late 2015 - early 2016.
The manufacturer of the famous Black Hawk and Marine One (the US presidential helicopter), will be integrated into Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems and Training business segment. With this acquisition, the largest supplier of military equipment in the world, known for their F-16, F-22 and F-35, take the biggest manufacturer of military helicopters under their wing.
Other manufacturers, such as Boeing, Textron, Bell Helicopters and Airbus Helicopters, who all said they were studying the matter, were eventually allocated to the sidelines with no real surprises. As a preferred supplier to the Pentagon, and also Sikorsky (especially in terms of electronic equipment), the selection of Lockheed Martin indeed seemed almost preordained.
In recent months Sikorsky has seen a decline of its overseas sales and a significant drop in orders from the US military, and with budget cuts from the latter in particular, the profits of the helicopter manufacturer last year ($ 700 million profits) were halved compared to 2013. This was, amongst others, that which reinforced UTC’s decision to divest themselves of their main military division and announce, at the beginning of June, the reduction of 1,400 jobs over the next twelve months; almost 10% of its workforce.
With this operation, Lockheed Martin could well develop in the civil helicopter market where Sikorsky held only a 5% share. It should especially strengthen its position as the leading supplier to the US military. As for the American multinational conglomerate, UTC, we do not yet know what the nine billion dollars generated from this transaction will be used for. They will certainly remain in the aerospace sector with their subsidiary engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney, and probably continue the realignment of their civil activities from which they achieve higher profits, such as with Otis elevators or the Carrier Corporation (Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning).