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More Bad News In Wichita: Spirit Aerosystems Idles 360 Workers

U.K. Interest Said To Be Considering Buying The Company

About 360 people employed by Spirit Aerosystems are no longer employed by the company. Spirit laid off the management and salaried workers from their operations in Kansas and Oklahoma Thursday.

In a statement posted on its website, the company said "Today's action is a strategic move to make the company more competitive in a cost-sensitive environment, and results from an ongoing workforce assessment designed to reduce overhead costs, increase efficiency and drive improved performance.

Spirit remains a strong company with a robust backlog of approximately $36 billion."

The statement said the company is offering affected employees severance benefits and career transition services.

The Wichita Eagle reports that about 200 of the workers are professional engineers and technical workers represented by SPEEA. Hourly workers were not affected by the layoffs. SPEEA had warned of the job action Wednesday. SPEEA has filed multiple unfair labor practice complaints against Spirit Aerosystems during ongoing contract negotiations.

The company is also reportedly being considered for acquisition by the U.K. aerospace components group GKN. The Wichita Eagle relays a report from the British newspaper The Daily Mail that indicates the U.K. company is "on the verge" of making an offer for Spirit Aerosystems. GKN is reportedly being advised by Bank of America/Merrill Lynch.

An acquisition would shore up GKNs ties with Boeing, but an analyst quoted in The Daily Mail said that the deal could be risky given Spirit's acceptance of what it described as "underpriced contracts" in 2012.

FMI: www.spiritaero.com, www.gkn.com

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