Eaton Acquires Cobham Mission Systems
Power management giant Eaton closes its acquisition of British aerospace firm Cobham Mission Systems.
Earlier this month, Eaton completed its $2.83 billion acquisition of U.K.-based Cobham Mission Systems, a provider of air-to-air refueling systems, fuel tank inserting systems, life support and space propulsion components, and other products for the military aircraft defense market.
Cobham Mission Systems offers air-to-air refueling systems for the military aircraft defense market. Image courtesy of Cobham Mission Systems
The 2,000-employee company has manufacturing plants in the U.S. and the U.K. So far this year, Cobham Mission Systems has secured contracts with the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command and Supply Systems Command, the Thales Alenia Space Italia for NASA’s Orion spacecraft, the German Air Force and a major U.S. airline operating Boeing 737s. Its space pyrotechnic valves also played a role in the recent landing of NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars.
Eaton’s most recent earnings statement notes that Cobham Mission Systems generated over $700 million in sales in 2020.
In first announcing the deal in February, Eaton said the move would add a boost to its fuel systems business, positioning its aerospace segment for future growth. Heath Monesmith, president and COO of Eaton’s industrial sector, added in the recent closing announcement that the deal positions the company’s portfolio “for higher growth, stronger margins and more consistent performance.”
Eaton’s aerospace business sells engine and fuel systems, fluid and air distribution systems, hydraulics products, interconnect solutions and motion control systems to both commercial and military markets. Last year, the aerospace segment accounted for $2.2 billion of Eaton’s total $17.8 billion in sales, according to its 2020 annual report.
Original equipment manufacturers accounted for $986 million of Eaton’s aerospace sales, while $685 million was sourced from aftermarket suppliers, and $552 million came from industrial customers and other markets. And about 22% of the segment's sales were made to four large aircraft OEMs.
But even though military sales increased over 2020, Eaton felt the pandemic’s hit to the commercial aviation industry. Aerospace sales dropped 10% last year overall. Still, a 22% decline in organic sales was partially offset by a 12% jump from Eaton’s $920 million acquisition of Souriau-Sunbank in 2019.
The pandemic continues to impact Eaton’s aerospace business, according to its first-quarter 2021 report. The segment generated $519 million in sales over the quarter, down 24% from the first quarter of last year.