Speculation GKN may split top supply divisions

West Midlands engineering giant GKN could be broken up into two separate companies – one supplying the aerospace sector and the other, automotive.

Speculation on the future of the Redditch-based group emerged over the weekend following reports in The Sunday Times.

According to the report, the company is in the early stages of considering the plan, which would see the group focus on its two main supply divisions.

£400m was wiped off the value of the company earlier this month after it revealed it is facing unspecified claims totalling £40m.

The global manufacturing group would only say the “commercially sensitive” claims related to GKN Aerospace and GKN Driveline – the two companies which would be affected by the split – and that it expects it will incur the charges before the end of the year.

The claims caused the group to issue a trading update with reduced profit expectations.

The plan may have been accelerated following a recent management restructure.

Last month it was announced that current chief executive Nigel Stein will step down from his role at the end of the year, and as a director of the business on March 14, 2018.

He will be succeeded by Kevin Cummings, currently Chief Executive Aerospace, with the appointment becoming effective from January 1, 2018.
Additionally, Adam Walker, Group Finance Director since February 2014, is leaving to take up an opportunity outside of the engineering sector.

The company has so far made no comment on the speculation.

Birmingham-based GKN Driveline is a major supplier to some of the world’s leading automotive manufacturers, including Jaguar Land Rover. While it has recently agreed a multi-year partnership with Jaguar’s electric racing team.

The group’s aerospace division is likewise a main supplier to OEMs such as Airbus.