June 10, 2014 / 10:15 AM / 6 years ago

B/E Aerospace to split into two companies to attract suitors

(Reuters) - B/E Aerospace Inc, an aircraft seat maker and parts distributor, will split into two publicly traded companies, making it easier for the company to pursue a sale of its businesses.

The $10 billion company - which with rival Zodiac Aerospace controls around 70 percent of the world’s aircraft seats market - made a surprise announcement in May that it was considering selling itself, among other strategic alternatives.

“As two standalone entities, it could theoretically make it easier for a potential acquirer to make a bid,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Robert Stallard wrote in a note.

B/E Aerospace’s shares fell as much as 6 percent as investors had hoped for a sale of the company.

B/E Aerospace said on Tuesday that one company would focus on making aircraft cabin products, while the other would concentrate on distribution, logistics and technical services for aerospace and energy services markets.

The separation is likely to be completed in the first quarter of 2015, the company said.

The strategic review will continue and could include a “change of control transactions,” Chairman Amin Khoury said, hinting at a possible sale of its businesses in the future.

The 26-year-old company, which counts Boeing Co and Airbus Group NV as customers, also named former Honeywell chief financial officer David Anderson to its board.

B/E Aerospace’s shares were down 5 percent at $94.04 in afternoon trading on the Nasdaq, after touching a low of $93.23. Until Monday’s close, the stock had risen about 11 percent since the company said on May 4 that it was looking to sell itself.


Sterne Agee & Leach analyst Peter Arment said he expected the two companies to be valued at $105-$131 per share combined.

Investor St. Denis J. Villere & Co LLC, which owns about 1.8 percent of B/E Aerospace, will be happy to sell its holding at $120 per share, said portfolio manager St. Denis Villere, III.

“I would have preferred for management to have sold B/E ... but that did not happen,” Villere said.

Florida-based B/E Aerospace trades at about 20 times 12-months forward earnings, compared with 13.5 times for peer Wesco Aircraft Holdings Inc and 17.1 for Zodiac, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine.

B/E Aerospace also raised its profit forecast for the year ending Dec. 31 to $4.35 per share from $4.30 per share.

Analysts on average were expecting $4.39 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Writing by Sweta Singh in Bangalore; Editing by Kirti Pandey

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