One of the B/E Aerospace locations, 1455 Fairchild Road, as seen Oct. 25, 2016.

The $8.6 billion sale of B/E Aerospace Inc. was completed Thursday following the European Commission’s regulatory approval of Rockwell Collins Inc.’s purchase.

Although B/E is based in Wellington, Fla., its largest U.S. operations are in Winston-Salem with at least 1,300 employees.

With B/E Aerospace now part of Rockwell Collins, the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, company has nearly 30,000 employees nationwide and combined annual revenue projected to exceed $8 billion,

The deal announcement came after B/E’s board of directors said in May 2014 it was considering a sale as part of “exploring and evaluating” its strategic alternatives. In June 2014, B/E announced the spin-off what became KLX Inc. into an independent, publicly traded corporation.

The B/E brand has ended, effective Thursday, operating now as Rockwell’s Interior System business.

Werner Lieberherr, B/E’s president and chief executive and the company’s top local officer, has transitioned to chief operating officer of the Interior Systems business.

Rockwell gains with the deal a wide range of cabin interior products for commercial aircraft and business jets, including seating, food and beverage preparation and storage equipment, lighting and oxygen systems, and modular galley and lavatory systems.

Rockwell’s business model had been built primarily on cockpit, cabin management, communication and connectivity solutions.

“Today marks a major step in advancing our vision of being the most trusted source of aviation and high-integrity solutions in the world,” Kelly Ortberg, Rockwell’s chairman, chief executive and president, said in a statement.

The company said Ortberg is visiting with Winston-Salem employees today.

“The industry-leading products and solutions being brought together by this acquisition give us a much broader offering, increasing value for our customers and ultimately driving long-term, profitable growth and shareowner value.”

Lieberherr said the acquisition “sets us on an exciting path that will greatly benefit our customers, employees and shareowners.”

Rockwell has not disclosed how much of a local workforce impact there will be from the purchase. It has said it expects to gain cost-cutting synergies of $125 million after tax, achieving 90 percent of it by the end of fiscal 2019.

Pam Tvrdy-Cleary, a Rockwell spokeswoman, said in October that the potential buyer expects “minimal — if any — impact in Winston-Salem.”

Amir Khoury, B/E’s chairman, told employees Oct. 23 that “Rockwell Collins is the perfect fit for our employees and our customers. We share a culture and reputation for innovation, quality, on-time delivery and global customer support to benefit our customers.”

The transaction is expected to be double-digit accretive to earnings per share in fiscal 2018,

The company plans to release its second-quarter earnings report April 21.

Lieberherr initially is taking a pay cut in his new job, according to regulatory filings. His starting Rockwell salary is $875,000, down from $1.01 million with B/E for fiscal 2015. He would be eligible for incentive pay of at least 90 percent of his salary, compared with $1.65 million in fiscal 2015.

However, Lieberherr would be made eligible for a $2 million cash retention award, vesting on the first anniversary of the completed deal, and an annual equity award, similar to other Rockwell senior executives, of $1.3 million.

Peter Arment, an analyst with Baird, said he views the Rockwell offer as a good deal for B/E.


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