Focus on quality not slowing innovation, says GKN

By Tom Batchelor

April 18, 2024, © Leeham News: The crisis at Boeing forced the entire supply chain to re-evaluate manufacturing processes and double down on quality control – but that is not yet stifling innovation, according to Peter Dilnot, CEO of Melrose PLC, the parent company of aerostructures and engine components supplier GKN Aerospace.

GKN Aerospace has undergone a restructuring that is now largely complete. Source: GKN

Melrose is most of the way through a comprehensive restructuring, and the company has emerged as a pure-play aerospace business that has consolidated production sites and exited “non-favorable” contracts.

“We don’t want to be everywhere,” explained Dilnot during a briefing in London attended by LNA this week, which was intended to set the scene ahead of July’s Farnborough Airshow.

"One of the reasons I think aerospace is so much in vogue at the moment is that it is one of the very few markets where you’ve got structural growth. Aerospace is unique in that we’ve got these long order backlogs, structural growth and as a result a growing top line for industry participants."

From 50 production facilities pre-COVID, GKN is now down to 33, and it will soon be at 31 sites. Its four global technology centers remain in the UK, where it is headquartered, the US, the Netherlands, and Sweden.

The positioning of Melrose as a leaner business after the spin-off of its automotive unit is producing positive results. The company posted revenue of £3.35bn ($4.29bn) for 2023, 17% growth over the previous year, and adjusted operating profit of £420m (up from £186m in 2022), in its full-year results last month. Operating margin reached 12.5%, up from 6.3%, and profits of £700m are being targeted by 2025.

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