Rockwell Collins to buy commercial flight systems maker Arnic for $1.39 bn

Rockwell Collins Inc, a US aviation equipment supplier, yesterday announced that it will buy privately held commercial flight systems manufacturer Arnic Inc from private equity firm Carlyle Group for $1.39 billion.

Rockwell Collins IncCarlyle had acquired Arinc from primary shareholders American Airlines and United Airlines in 2007, for a reported $650 million.

Founded in 1929, Arinc provides radio communications for commercial airlines, and provides systems engineering and integration solutions to airports, aviation, defence, government, and surface transportation.

The Maryland-based company's systems supports more than 15,000 aircraft, 300 airlines, 150 airports, 200 train systems, over half of North America's nuclear power plants and other critical national infrastructure, and over a dozen military aircraft platforms.

The company's systems helps more than 14,000 commercial aircraft make more than 100,000 takeoffs and landings daily, according to its website.

The acquisition will bring together two leading players in the growing field of aviation information management, combining Arinc's networks and services with the industry leading avionics and cabin technologies developed by Rockwell Collins.

Arinc's 2013 revenues are expected to be over $600 million, said Rockwell Collins, which itself expects sales in its current fiscal year to be around $4.65 billion.

Post completion, the acquisition will shift the balance of Rockwell Collins' business to around 54 per cent commercial and 46 per cent government.

"Strategically, this acquisition is a natural fit for Rockwell Collins,'' said Kelly Ortberg, Rockwell Collins CEO and president. ''It accelerates our strategy to develop comprehensive information management solutions by building on our existing information-enabled products and systems and Arinc's ground-based networks and services to further expand our opportunities beyond the aircraft."

''ARINC's strong customer base, high customer retention rates and subscription business model will help the company achieve accelerated growth and benefit from greater earnings consistency throughout the commercial aviation business cycle,'' added Ortberg.

''Rockwell Collins' expertise in managing information on-board the aircraft, coupled with our innovative and reliable air to ground communications services, will be instrumental in providing new integrated information management solutions for our customers,'' said John Belcher, chairman and CEO of Arinc.

Iowa-based provides avionics and information technology systems and services to government agencies and aircraft manufacturers.

Its aviation electronics systems and products are installed in the flight decks of nearly every air transport aircraft in the world, while its airborne and ground-based communication systems transmit nearly 70 per cent of all US and allied military communication.