labels: Boeing, News reports, Alenia Aeronautica S.p.A.
Boeing buys into joint venture operating key 787 assembly plant news
29 March 2008

Boeing said that it is buying out Vought Aircraft Industries' stake in a joint venture that assembles sections of the new 787 Dreamliner. The move is aimed at helping Boeing resolve some of the  production delays that are affecting this prestigious programme.

Boeing's market value has dropped about 28 per cent since the first delay in the Dreamliner programme was announced October last year.

Boeing said Friday that it is buying out Vought's 50 per cent stake in the Global Aeronautica sub-assembly plant, leaving in place the joint venture's other partner, Alenia North America.

A Boeing spokesperson said the acquisition will provide Boeing "more influence" over the four sections of the fuselage that are assembled at the plant in North Charleston.

The Global Aeronautica plant has a key role in the global system that Boeing has designed for building the Dreamliner. It joins the centre wing box, made by Fuji and Kawasaki, a fuselage section from Japan, two fuselage sections from Italy, a fuselage section built at a nearby Vought facility in South Carolina, as well as other parts from Canada and France.

Industry sources said that the Vought facility had become a bottleneck for the programme as it was failing to put these sections together at a quick enough pace. Boeing's ambitious plan to have vendors build large sections that it will later assemble may now need to be reworked, though not immediately.

Vought is owned by global private equity firm, the Carlyle Group. 

Ownership of the joint venture, Global Aeronautica, will now be split evenly between Boeing and Alenia North America, a subsidiary of Italy's Finmeccanica, Boeing said in a statement.

Deliveries for the Dreamliner were originally due to begin in May 2008, but have now been pushed to 2009.

Boeing has about 900 orders for the Dreamliner, which is its most successful new launch ever. The company will update the 787 production schedule in early April.

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Boeing buys into joint venture operating key 787 assembly plant