Aero Vodochody to close UK subsidiary Rotortech

Aero Vodochody to close UK subsidiary Rotortech 16 Feb, 11, Source:

Czech manufacturer Aero Vodochody has announced that it will close its UK subsidiary Rotortech Aero in April 2011, after it completes its last orders for its contracted partners.  All production, except that involving UK military restricted work, is being transferred to the Czech Republic.  While citing high wage costs in the UK, president Ladislav Å imek also said “In Aero we are able to run the same production at lower costs and of course distinctively more effectively”.  Aero is also looking to maximise the benefit it can make from the investment it is making in composite technology in its home country, having invested 10 million Czech Koruna (£350K, US$550K) to date with has plans for a further 105 million CZK (£3.6M US$5.8M) in the future.

Rotortech started life at Bourn in Cambridgeshire as the overhaul department of Bond Helicopters, the earlier UK operator whose offshore interests were sold to Helicopter Services Group of Norway, which in turn was consumed into CHC in 1999.  Rotortech transformed into a composites specialist before being sold in September 2007 to Penta Investments Ltd as a support facility for Aero Vodochody, including being renamed as Rotortech Aero Composites Ltd.  In 2009 it became a 100% subsidiary of Aero Vodochody.

Apart from its parent company, Rotortech Aero lists its main business partners as GKN Aerospace, Helicopter Support, Colebrand and Bioquell.  It also mentions BAE Systems (for their Nimrod and Tornado programs) and missle manufacturer MBDA, but we believe that these companies are what is referred to as “UK military  restricted work” and thus not involved in the work being transferred to Czech Republic.  MBDA is a subsidiary of BAE Systems, and was formed out of the merger of Matra Defence with BAE Dynamics.

Aero Vodochody is well known for its production of Sikorsky S-76 airframes, and its presence on the British market with Rotortech helped Aero Vodochody gain important contacts and experience in the composites production, which now successfully uses in its own production.

The number of job losses has not been publicised.

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