GE closing in on Italian aerospace firm Avio in over $4-bn deal: report

General Electric Co is close to inking an over €3 billion ($4 billion) deal for acquiring Italian aerospace supplier Avio SpA from British private equity firm Cinven, The Wall Street Journal yesterday reported, citing  people familiar with the negotiations.

GE and Cinven are planning to announce a deal on Thursday, though it still could be derailed at the last minute, the report said

Cinven had acquired a majority stake in Turin, Italy-based Avio for more than $3.3 billion in 2006 from private equity firm Carlyle Group and Italian conglomerate Finmeccanica Group. Cinven holds an 81 per cent stake in Avio and the remaining 19 per cent is held by Finmeccanica.

Cinven had to abandon its plans to take Avio public this year, due to unsettled global economic conditions, especially in Europe.

Avio, whose clients include GE Aviation, Rolls Royce, Pratt & Whitney and EADS, had earlier been in talks with other suitors including French defence equipment manufacturer Safran.

Safran and Avio have been collaborating on the Ariane space launcher and the two companies recently worked together on the SaM146 engine to power the Russian Superjet 100 aircraft.