US-based manufacturer Spirit AeroSystems has agreed to acquire select assets of Bombardier aerostructures and its aftermarket services businesses for $500m in cash.

The acquisition is expected to expand Spirit’s operations into Northern Ireland and Morocco.

As part of a definitive agreement signed by the companies, Spirit AeroSystems will take up around $300m in net pension liabilities and nearly $290m of government grant repayment obligations.

Bombardier will receive $500m and a $130m cash contribution for the pension liability, bringing the total cash paid at closing to $630m.

Spirit AeroSystems president and chief executive officer Tom Gentile: “The Bombardier operations bring world-class engineering expertise to Spirit and add to a strong track record of innovation, especially in advanced composites.

“Belfast has developed an impressive position in business jet fuselage production, in addition to the world-acclaimed fully integrated A220 composite wing. This acquisition is in line with our growth strategy of increasing Airbus content, developing low-cost country footprint, and growing our aftermarket business.”

Bombardier’s divested business currently has more than 4,000 employees working at three sites.

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The company’s unfulfilled long-term contracts cover Airbus A220 and A320neo, as well as other Bombardier business and regional jets.

The deal is anticipated to be completed in the first half of next year.

Completion is dependent on the receipt of relevant regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs acted as financial advisers to Spirit in relation to the transaction.

Earlier this year, Spirit AeroSystems partnered with Aerion for the preliminary design of the AS2 Supersonic Business Jet’s forward, pressurised fuselage.