Power management company Eaton has announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Cobham Mission Systems, a leading manufacturer of air-to-air refuelling systems.

Eaton Corporation plc is an American Irish-domiciled company with corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, and operational headquarters in Beachwood, Ohio.

Eaton will pay $2.83 billion for Cobham Mission Systems (CMS), inclusive of $130 million in tax benefits. Excluding the amount paid for tax benefits, the purchase price represents approximately 14 times CMS’s 2020 EBITDA and 13 times its estimated 2021 EBITDA.

“Cobham Mission Systems’ highly complementary products and strong position on growing defense platforms will enhance our fuel systems business and position our Aerospace business for future growth,” said Heath Monesmith, president and chief operating officer, Industrial Sector, Eaton.

“We look forward to welcoming CMS to Eaton.”

Eaton say its mission is to improve the quality of life and the environment through the use of power management technologies and services.

“We provide sustainable solutions that help our customers effectively manage electrical, hydraulic, and mechanical power – more safely, more efficiently, and more reliably. Eaton’s 2019 revenues were $21.4 billion, and we sell products to customers in more than 175 countries. We have approximately 92,000 employees.”

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More taxes going offshore then. Is this the entire Cobham portfolio or just a subsidiary?
I assume this required government approval, I just don’t understand why they would do it when they know its a tax move and will likely see the company asset stripped and burdened with unnecessary debt to the point its on its knees in 5 years.


Just so. How many years before all manufacturing heads off to the USA?


Exactly BB85.

We are well and truly now only a “consumer society” and this is yet another example of a once specialist industrial capability going offshore. What is even worse/ironic is that our consumer society has just gone and lost all the shops!


Yeah it’s frustrating. We should be able to compete effectively for high end manufacturing jobs it’s this BS tax system that allows money to be offshored and then race to the bottom where manufacturing is moved to China usually because of our complex environmental regulations that actually increase pollution when manufacturing is forced to go to China. It makes no sense. I’m all for protecting the environment but not if it means exporting pollution to other countries. Environmentalist are so lazy and stupid that they protest our own pollution which makes up less than 1% of china’s


Sorry- one of 9 divisions.


Yep. Spot-on.

It’s so frustrating: if only the UK had some sense of National industrial strategy and global vision to go forward.

What other country would be this naive in gradually letting all of it’s industry and resources go to others? Surely COVID – if nothing else – teaches us the need for indigenous, reliable, strategic capabilities and industries?

ARRRRRGH! (former COB shareholder).

Andy P

I’m all for protecting the environment but not if it means exporting pollution to other countries. Environmentalist are so lazy and stupid that they protest our own pollution which makes up less than 1% of china’s”

^^^ This. It’s just so short term and self absorbed. Just so ‘WE’ can say how good WE are at the ‘Green stuff’, when all we’re doing is moving it somewhere else. Until we start working as a planet on this stuff then we’re largely wasting our time. Hopefully the new Prez will help there, at least a wee bit.


No so sure its a BS tax system, we’re some way behind in productivity in the UK. 30% behind Germany so even though UK companies pay less corporate tax, getting 30% more value out of an employee is very attractive and offsets the higher tax. German workers don’t work harder. My first hand experience in some parts of UK industry is that some think adding automation costs jobs, it doesn’t. You reduce cost and therefore become more competitive which attract more sales = increased work load so need to add more people to run/maintain the automation. Again in the UK… Read more »


My main gripe against Corp tax is how easily it is off shorted. 20, 30, 40% means nothing to corporations as they just transfer it to the lowest location through manipulated internal transactions. I agree on the productivity side, we seem we have tried to copy the German model to reinvest in R&D to offset taxes but we are still a long way off. I also agree on the unions being much more pro productivity in Germany while in the UK they are completely the opposite certainly in relation to government bodies or nationalised utilities etc. France which arguably has… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by BB85

Thing is, it’s not so much regulation, that does add cost, but most of the cost is always wage bills, tax and sometimes rent/land costs. It’s essentially why the neoliberal global system only really benefits two groups: owners of production and those with knowledge based skills that are In demand internationally. The owners of production simple shift their basic production to the place with the cheapest workforce, land costs and tax, that’s always a nation that does not give a shit about it’s general population ( AKA not the western liberal democracies that created the idea of new liberalism) those… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Jonathan
Ryan Brewis

The recent coal mine opened in England being a prime example?


I think it is just one of 14 operating divisions. But given the defence involvement, the sale of Cobham to US private equity should have been blocked in its entirety.

Ian Skinner

Very short sighted of the UK government to allow this.


Another triumph for ‘bone headed ideology’ over common sense!


My energy supplier is headquartered in France, my so called British car was actually made in Belgium, the white goods I own turn out to be Chinese.Very little remains British these days.


I bought some UK made white goods 3 years ago made by Crosslee. Nothing wrong with the product very comparable to foreign brands. But they did not get the support of UK consumers and has now closed its UK factory.

Paul H

Some truth spoken here but think of all the same conversations being had around the world by people lamenting ownership of indigenous companies by British banks, defence companies, outsourcers, pharmas etc. We only hear the downsides of globalisation.

Barry Larking

Excellent point Paul. UK plc is a bigger player than most understand. Perhaps it suits to keep this quiet.


Great value for UK plc. Massive cash injection.

Daniele Mandelli

Bad decision. Surely AAR is of critical strategic importance and should be retained in UK ownership.


The reality is unless you secure the entire supply chain we’re at risk. Systems are so complex these days components come from all over the world. Only a handful of countries are large enough and diverse enough to maintain everything needed within their economies.


“Only a handful of countries are large enough and diverse enough to maintain everything needed within their economies.”

I don’t think that is even possible due to production complexity.

And if the global market is stopped by protectionists you have also to include mineral resources in equation with bigger countries being much more able to barter.
Worse that that, the political system will be even more prone to corruption since even more power will be vested on it.


I echo everything said below, ownership is where it starts, before the company gets stripped and high value design and/or manufacturing work gets moved. This is in stark contrast to the Conservative government’s move towards “Global Britain” being a hub/powerhouse of high tech industry. Very disappointing, AAR is exactly the kind of defence/tech stuff we should be keeping domestic. Unfortunately, it looks a bit like the government haven’t hctually changed at all, just some loud soundbites and a couple of big flasy projects with business as usual everywhere else. Not saying that any other government would be better of course,… Read more »

Barry Larking

I sense there is more to this. It is a very high price that has been put on the company; surely some of that price must cover I.P? I suspect someone thought the age of air to air refuelling is is coming to an end in some way, so sell while we can? The defence industry is much more globalised now in any case; big companies are spreading out around the globe. The name on the box is no longer means as much. I live in an old ship building city. I was very surprised to see how much engineering… Read more »


I thought that the British Govt. waved through the takeover of Cobham by a US hedge fund subject to certain conditions. It is not apparent what those conditions might have been, as the company is already being stripped out, its military training jet fleet having been sold off last year to US company Draken..

Michael W

one of the conditions was that all employees would keep their jobs as long as the company owned it.
They then sold it on,stripped of some parts and technology and as they were no longer the owners,people lost their jobs,All done in 18 months.
The Minister in charge failed to spot the wording as did the legal people and civil servants involved.
I cant help wondering who,besides shareholders,makes the big bucks on the sale.