GKN’s bullish expansion

Posted on 17 Jun 2010 by The Manufacturer

GKN announces ambitious expansion plans by establishing a new division, GKN Land Systems, covering high speed rail, military vehicles, offshore wind power and other opportunities.

GKN, the British engineering group, has announced plans to set up a new division – GKN Land Systems – that will combine three business divisions and exploit new business areas.

GKN Off-Highway, GKN Aerostructures and GKN Industrial and Distribution units will combine to form the new division with a revised mandate. It is designed to exploit growth opportunities in areas including high speed rail, military vehicle equipment markets and UK offshore windpower.
It will also be tasked with exploiting opportunities to provide through-life support by the potential upgrade of existing large engineering product equipment, implementing recent new in-house developed technologies, including powder metallurgy, which makes very light materials for use in applications like cars and white goods.

The company is looking to more than double current annualised divisional sales of £700m within five years.
The new division hopes to sell existing technologies to new or underexploited sectors including high speed trains and military vehicles.

Howard Wheeldon, senior strategist at BGC Partners, said: “There are potential opportunities in heavy military vehicles such as the armoured car market. Note that back in the late 1980s, GKN Sankey built more than 1,000 Warrior Armoured Personnel Carriers for the British Army, hugely successful vehicles that it is hoped will shortly undergo significant upgrading. The UK government is already committed to various military vehicle developments under the FRES (Future Rapid Effects System) exercise.”

GKN has had a strong track record through the recession, achieved partly through diversification, the market position of divisions like GKN Off-Highway and big long term contracts with regular customers like Airbus. “This development is a milestone in the growth of GKN,” said chief executive Sir Kevin Smith.