Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) is part of an integrated aerospace cluster that is being assembled at Dubai World Central – the new 140 square kilometer airport and logistics city being constructed at Jebel Ali, Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. The firm is made up of 6 divisions – DAE Airports, DAE Capital, DAE Engineering, DAE Manufacturing, DAE Services, and DAE University. Dubai has long since taken over from Lebanon as the business and financial center of the Middle East, however, and DAW sees growing regional and global opportunities in the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) business.
Which may explain the formal completion of DAE’s $1.9 billion acquisition of aviation service providers Standard Aero and Landmark Aviation from The Carlyle Group.
DAE’s founding partners are 6 Dubai Government owned or part-owned entities: Istithmar, Emaar Properties, Dubai International Capital, Dubai International Financial Centre, Amlak, and the Dubai Airport Free Zone. They have been providing capital and support, as part of a larger vision sponsored by Dubai’s leadership.
Standard Aero has been covered before on DID; among other things, they service LCAC hovercraft engines, and the T56 turboprop engines and propellers found on C-130A-H Hercules and C-2 Greyhound transports, E-2 Hawkeye AWACS aircraft, and P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft. Key competitors in that niche include Sigma Aerospace. Standard Aero’s business extends beyond that niche, however; they provide a wide variety of gas turbine engine and accessory MRO and engineering services to regional airlines, military, business aviation, helicopters and energy/industrial operators located in over 75 countries.
Landmark Aviation has 4 major maintenance, repair and overhaul operations in the U.S., and offers nose-to-tail services that include engine, airframe, avionics, interior refurbishments and paint for mid- to heavy-aircraft. Their subsidiary Associated Air Center, meanwhile, turns Boeing and Airbus transports into luxury private aircraft – a market with a number of major middle eastern customers.
The combination of Standard Aero and Landmark Aviation will create a global aviation services network of 12 primary facilities in the United States, Canada, Europe, Singapore and Australia, with an additional 14 regionally located service and support locations. DAE will merge the companies as a business enterprise within its DAE Engineering subsidiary.
Standard Aero President & COO Paul Soubry Jr. will become President and Chief Executive Officer of the combined companies, reporting directly to DAE Engineering CEO Robert Mionis. Associated Air Center will report separately into DAE Engineering, where the focus will be on operational excellence and strategically growing the business.
As part of the acquisition, however, DAE will be divesting the Landmark Aviation Airport Services business, which includes 33 fixed base operations, an Aircraft Sales, Charter & Management business, and MRO operations associated with the Fixed Base Operator sites. The operations of Landmark Aviation Airport Services and the sale process will be overseen by an independent board of trustees made up of former Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger, former Senator Bob Kerrey and former Pentagon Comptroller Dov Zakheim. The sale process will be conducted by Merrill Lynch.
The DAE release quotes Managing Director HE Dr. Omar Bin Sulaiman as saying that: “This is a significant step forward in our strategy which reinforces the progress that DAE has achieved so far, and for sure it will not be the last one.” Which is very likely true. Previous moves had included the purchase of Swiss firm SR Technics, a major MRO provider in Europe and Asia. Recent moves have included an MRO strategic partnership with Boeing and a $5.6 billion bid for a 51-60% share of Auckland International Airport in New Zealand.
Bob Johnson, DAE’s CEO, expressed aspirations to be a global player and added that: “The acquisition of Standard Aero and Landmark Aviation provides a critical platform for DAE to take advantage of growth opportunities in the MRO business around the world.”
* DAE (August 1/07) – Dubai Aerospace Enterprise Completes Acquisition Of Standard Aero And Landmark Aviation: Transaction Creates Leading Aviation Services Business And Furthers DAE’s Global Growth Strategy
* AME Info (Feb 20/06) – $15bn Dubai Aerospace Enterprise: an amazing business vision. “Indeed, the Middle East and North Africa region will take 58% of wide bodied aircraft deliveries between 2004 and 2023, and 50% of recent new aircraft orders have been in the Middle East as the regional carriers are in the process of doubling their fleets.”