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Twinsburg -- The former Goodrich Electric Power Systems on Darrow Road has been purchased for $400 million by the Safran Group, a global aerospace, defense and security company based in France. The sale, completed April 8, could mean more jobs at the Darrow Road company by as early as this year, according to Safran's Nick Bavaro, engineering and program director at the newly named Safran Power USA.
"We'll look to install a maintenance and overhaul facility here in Twinsburg, and staffing with more people could come later on this year," Bavaro said.
Bavaro said the new hires would likely be made in connection with a future warehouse "maintenance, repair and overhaul" facility to be constructed at the location, but did not specify a number of employees to be hired or an additional square footage.
The 44,000-square-foot business at 8380 Darrow Road and its 111 employees "design and qualify power generation and distribution systems for aircraft," both civilian and military, working in aerospace, landing gear and braking system applications, Bavaro said.
Twinsburg Planning and Development Director Larry Finch said the global nature of the company leaves the effect of the sale on Twinsburg uncertain.
"I've been talking to people there for awhile," Finch said. "This is a little bit different than the [$10 million] sale of Vistar [a food distribution company in Cornerstone Business Park] to an investment company ... Safran is partially French government-owned, with other offices in the U.S. There will be a number of operational decisions they have to make, which could mean good things for us, or it could mean bad things for us. We just don't know yet."
Chris Plumb, managing director of Safran Power USA and Safran Power UK, a sister division in Aylesbury, England, that employs 500, said the "Twinsburg business ... will form a key part of Safran's strategy to compete" in the lighter, more efficient aircraft market.
"The benefits of electrical power include improved safety, gains in weight and space, as well as lower fuel consumption and thus lower carbon emissions ... That means we'll continue to need the highly skilled engineers and manufacturers that we already employ -- and may even bring more opportunities in the area."
Bavaro added that the Twinsburg location "fits in nicely" with what Safran does.
Former owners of Safran Power USA, U.S.-based Goodrich Corp., was sold to United Technologies Corporation in July 2012. As part of that deal, UTC was required by competition regulators to sell off the electrical power systems business, according to Safran officials.
Goodrich and Safran agreed to the $400 million sale in October 2012 and the sale was made official April 8.
Operating worldwide, the Safran Group employs 62,500 people and generated sales of 13.6 billion euros in 2012, according to company officials. Safran produces afterburning engines for the French Rafale and Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft, among many other civilian and military applications.