Alcoa today announced it is significantly accelerating its portfolio transformation. The Company has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Firth Rixson, a global leader in aerospace jet engine components, from Oak Hill Capital Partners, for $2.85 billion in cash and stock.
Under the terms of the deal, Alcoa will purchase Firth Rixson for $2.35 billion in cash, plus $500 million of Company stock and an additional $150 million potential earn-out.
The acquisition further strengthens Alcoa’s robust aerospace business. It positions the Company to capture additional aerospace growth with a broader range of high-growth, value-add jet engine components. The acquisition is strategically aligned with the Company’s objective to continue to build its value-add businesses.
“The acquisition of Firth Rixson is a major milestone in Alcoa’s transformation,” said Klaus Kleinfeld, Alcoa Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “This transaction will bring together some of the greatest innovators in jet engine component technology; it will significantly expand our market leadership and growth potential. Firth Rixson increases the earnings power and broadens the market reach of our high-value aerospace portfolio and will deliver compelling and sustainable value for customers and shareholders.”
“We at Oak Hill Capital have worked closely with the Firth Rixson team, led by CEO David Mortimer, to create long-term strategic value,” said Denis J. Nayden, Managing Partner of Oak Hill Capital. “By investing in new capabilities and technology in partnership with the leading aerospace engine customers, we strengthened Firth Rixson’s global leadership and built a business with strong growth, a large backlog of booked business and significant further potential. We are excited about the equity we are receiving in Alcoa and confident that the combination of Alcoa and Firth Rixson will achieve great success as a strategic supplier to the world’s best aerospace companies.”
The Firth Rixson acquisition offers significant benefits to Alcoa. Firth Rixson’s revenues are expected to grow 60 percent over the next three years, from $1 billion in 2013 to $1.6 billion, and contribute $350 million EBITDA in 2016. Firth Rixson’s sales are expected to grow 12 percent annually through 2019, a rate more than double the expanding global aerospace market. Approximately 70 percent of Firth Rixson’s growth is secured by long-term agreements.
Firth Rixson grows Alcoa’s annual aerospace revenues by 20 percent, from $4 billion in 2013 to $4.8 billion on a pro forma basis and is expected to increase the contribution of the high-growth aerospace segment to Alcoa’s value-add revenues from 30 percent to nearly 35 percent. Alcoa’s aerospace business is the largest contributor to Alcoa’s value-add businesses, which in 2013 comprised 57 percent of overall revenues and 80 percent of segment profits.
While the two businesses are highly complementary with limited product overlap, the Company also expects to realize significant synergy cost savings, primarily driven by purchasing and productivity improvements, optimizing internal metal supply and leveraging Alcoa’s global shared services. These cost savings are expected to reach more than $100 million annually by year five. The transaction is expected to be neutral to earnings the first year and accretive thereafter and will generate a return in excess of cost of capital.
Firth Rixson has a strong portfolio of world-class assets that complements and deepens Alcoa’s penetration of the growing aerospace market. Firth Rixson has gained share in each successive generation of engine platforms through its strong market position in rings and significant investment in isothermal forging. Firth Rixson currently holds the number one global position in seamless rolled jet engine rings, engineered from nickel-based superalloys and titanium, and is a major supplier of jet engine forgings, expanding Alcoa’s presence into the full range of global aerospace engine forgings. It is also one of the world’s leading suppliers of vacuum melted superalloys used to make aerospace, industrial gas turbine, oil and gas products and structural components for landing gear applications.
Through Firth Rixson, Alcoa enters into a highly specialized segment of jet engine forgings that require isothermal forging technology. Isothermally forged parts are increasingly required in jet engines that use elevated turbine temperatures to maximize power output, drive fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. Demand for large isothermal aerospace engine disks is expected to triple in the next eight years driven by strong aerospace build rates.
Firth Rixson recently entered this segment with the development of the state-of-the art Savannah, Georgia facility, which includes a 19.5k ton isothermal press and a 33k ton conventional forge press for other large aerospace components.
Approximately 75 percent of Firth Rixson’s revenues in 2013 were from the aerospace industry, with the balance split between other markets such as industrial gas turbine, commercial transportation and oil and gas, complementing Alcoa’s growth markets.
Capitalizing on Growing Commercial Jet Market
This transaction is expected to enable Alcoa to capitalize on strong growth in the commercial aerospace sector. Alcoa projects a compounded annual commercial jet growth rate of 7 percent through 2019 and sees a current 9-year production order book at 2013 delivery rates.
Alcoa’s aerospace business holds the number one global position in aluminum forgings and extrusions, jet engine airfoils and fastening systems and is a leading supplier of structural castings made of titanium, aluminum and nickel-based superalloys, produced by its downstream business, Engineered Products and Solutions (EPS). Alcoa has increased adjusted EBITDA margins of its EPS business from 9.2 percent in 2003 to 21.5 percent in 2013. The Company also holds leading market positions in aerospace aluminum sheet and plate produced by its midstream business, Global Rolled Products.
Timing and Financing
The transaction, which has been approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies, remains subject to customary conditions and receipt of regulatory approvals. Alcoa expects to obtain all required regulatory clearances and close the transaction by the end of 2014.
The acquisition will be supported by a fully committed bridge facility from Morgan Stanley. Alcoa will subsequently issue a prudent combination of debt and equity-content securities and remains committed to maintaining its investment grade rating.
Greenhill and Morgan Stanley acted as financial advisors to Alcoa and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz acted as legal advisor. Citigroup and Lazard acted as financial advisors to Firth Rixson and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison acted as legal advisor.