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ZAVENTEM, 7 SEPTEMBER 2021 – MONTANA AEROSPACE SIGNS ACQUISITION OF THE ASCO GROUP

ZAVENTEM, 7 SEPTEMBER 2021 – MONTANA AEROSPACE SIGNS ACQUISITION OF THE ASCO GROUP

 

Montana Aerospace AG has signed an agreement with the shareholders of S.R.I.F. NV, the holding company of the Asco group, for the acquisition of 100% of the shares in S.R.I.F. NV. Closing of the acquisition remains subject to merger control and foreign direct investment approvals.

The Asco group, headquartered in Belgium, is a privately held leading supplier and development partner of wing components, complex mechanical assemblies and major structures for the aerospace industry, operating out of four locations in Belgium, Germany, the United States and Canada with around 1.200 employees. The family-owned company was created in 1954 and has been active in the aerospace industry since 1979. Over that period, Asco has built an international customer base of major OEM and Tier-1 suppliers and is present on a wide range of commercial and military aircraft platforms.

Montana Aerospace, headquartered in Switzerland and listed on the Zürich stock exchange, is a leading producer of system components and complex assemblies for the aerospace industry, with worldwide engineering and manufacturing operations. The Company has approximately 5,000 highly skilled employees at 28 locations on four continents, designing, developing and producing ground-breaking technologies for tomorrow’s aerospace, e-mobility and energy industries out of aluminum, titanium, composite, copper and steel.

This acquisition, which brings together highly complementary skills and capabilities of two recognized leaders in the aerospace industry, will further accelerate both companies’ growth as industrial champions best positioned to meet customer needs of tomorrow.

It recognizes the talent and capabilities of the Asco people which have proven to be a key factor to the company’s success and its reputation within the industry. It also confirms the success of the strategy of internationalization that Asco has been pursuing since many years in response to the consolidation in the aerostructures supply chain driven by the OEM.

Integration into one of the leading companies in the aerospace industry will allow to ensure the long-term sustainability and competitiveness of the Asco activities. We are convinced that this transaction will be a success for both companies, with new opportunities that will also contribute to a sustainable future and expansion of the wider aerospace activities in Belgium and Flanders and that will bring value for all stakeholders.

The Asco and Montana Aerospace teams are excited about this transaction and the integration of the Asco group within Montana Aerospace.

Press contact
Vicky Welvaert
Phone: +32 479 98 89 58
Email: vicky.welvaert@ascoindustries.com

Joint Venture BeLightning Kicks Off Horizontal Tail Program

ASCO Will Build Components for F-35 Lightning II

BRUSSELS, June 1, 2021 – Today the BeLightning joint venture between Asco Industries, Sabca and Sonaca Group, officially kicked off activity to build horizontal tails and related components for the F-35 Lightning II 5th Generation fighter jet. These efforts are alongside Lockheed Martin as the manufacturer of the F-35 and BAE Systems, who holds the contract for production of F-35 horizontal tails. This milestone comes after the signing of an implementation agreement between Lockheed Martin and BeLightning.

BeLightning, Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems will next stand up the production capability in Belgium to produce horizontal tails. Based on its own F-35 manufacturing capabilities in the United Kingdom, BAE Systems will work alongside Belgian industry to nurture skills and expertise in country in support of the F-35 program. BeLightning will deliver the horizontal tails to BAE Systems.

“Lockheed Martin has a longstanding partnership with Belgian industry through our work on the F-16 program.” said Bridget Lauderdale, vice president and general manager of the F-35 program. “Through the F-35 and BeLightning, this partnership will continue with Asco, Sabca and Sonaca for many years on this important project that brings significant technology and employment to Belgium.”

Work will be conducted at production facilities in three locations: final assembly at Sonaca’s facility in Gosselies, composites production at Sabca’s Lummen facility, and metallics production at Asco Industry’s facility in Zaventem. The construction and installation of state-of-the-art machines will begin soon at all facilities. The aim is to support the delivery of parts for, amongst others, Belgian aircraft and full production beginning in 2025, with the objective to accelerate this date.

This project is a direct result of the Essential Security Interest commitments made through the F-35 program, which offer Belgian companies opportunities for industrial participation. The aim of the project is to build a minimum of 400 horizontal tails representing approximately 400 million USD in projected revenues and the creation of 200 direct full-time employment opportunities for the production of these parts over the three companies.

The Belgian Federal government approved the creation of a funding mechanism with the involvement of the FPS Economy and the Federal Holding and Investment Company to finance the investments necessary for the manufacture of these highly critical parts. These investments will further strengthen the Defence Technology and Industrial Base in Belgium.

About the BeLightning Founders

Asco Industries is a leader in the design and manufacture of high lift devices, complex mechanical assemblies and major functional components for the aerospace industry. Asco already manufactures F35 Flaperon Spars in Belgium. This agreement with Lockheed Martin further strengthens Asco’s continuous support to the F-35 programs across its different entities worldwide. www.asco.be

Sabca has experience in designing, manufacturing, maintaining, and upgrading large and complex elements for aircraft and space launchers. Sabca offers full range services to the civil aviation, space and military aviation markets and recently expanded into the commercial Unmanned Autonomous Systems. www.sabca.be

Sonaca is an aerospace company active in aerostructure, services, innovation, space and defense. www.sonaca.com

About the F-35

The F-35 Lightning II is the world’s most advanced 5th Generation multirole fighter. Three variants of the F-35 are replacing legacy fighters for the United States Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy, and the Air Forces of at least ten other countries around the world, including European NATO members the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway.

More than 645 F-35 aircraft have been delivered and are operating from 26 bases around the globe. More than 1,345 pilots and 10,500 maintainers have been trained, and the F-35 fleet has surpassed more than 385,000 cumulative flight hours.

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Update cyber attack 28 June

Zaventem, 28 June 2019

Following the ransomware attack of which Asco was victim on June 7, 2019, we continue to make progress towards the recovery of our operational activities.

The forensic investigation regarding the cause of the attack is still ongoing. Our IT experts have taken control over the incident and, to date, no evidence of any exfiltration of information nor non-recoverable loss of data has been identified.

Since last week we’ve put in place workarounds that will enable us to gradually ramp up production and shipments in the coming days. Supported by external expertise, our teams are putting all the efforts to continue this progress and we managed to advance in the recovery of further activities. Taking into account that our key systems are not fully operational yet, we are not able to provide a forecast of the full recovery of our operational activities.

As a result of this gradual ramp up, in Asco Zaventem, unemployment will be limited to a minority of staff from specific supporting services as of next week.
As the safeguard of our clients is one of our top priorities, we want to ensure that backlogs and delays in production and shipment are limited to the most extent possible. In this respect, we have initiated a recruitment of over 100 additional temporary headcounts to support our operational activities in the site of Zaventem.

The overall communication around this topic is being coordinated by Mrs. Vicky Welvaert (+32 479 98 89 58) who is also at your disposal for all related questions you may have.

UPDATE CYBER ATTACK 21 JUNE

Zaventem, 21 June 2019

As communicated in our press release on 11 June, Asco has become victim of a large scale ransomware attack on June 7, 2019. To date, our activities are still heavily disturbed.

The forensic investigation regarding the cause of the attack is still ongoing. However, we can confirm that we were affected by a targeted type of attack (ransomware). Our IT experts have taken control over the incident and, to date, no evidence of any exfiltration of information nor non-recoverable loss of data has been identified.

All our efforts are focused on the recovery of our systems in order to restore our operational activities as soon as possible. Our approach, in which the security of our systems is the first priority, is result-oriented, whilst maintaining caution and ensuring sustainability. Since all our main IT systems have been disabled on June 7 when the first indicators of compromise were detected, the safe restoration of all our systems will take time.

To date, we can confirm that, we put in place workarounds that enabled us to partially restore our operational capabilities in the different sites since a couple of days. Taking into account that our key systems are not fully operational yet, we are not able to provide a forecast of the full recovery of our operational activities.

Supported by external experts, we are doing the utmost to restart our operations as soon as possible, in order to limit to the greatest extent the impact on our activities and on our staff. As we gradually achieve progress, we keep our employees, customers, suppliers and partners informed via direct communication.

The overall communication around this topic is being coordinated by Mrs. Vicky Welvaert (+32 479 98 89 58) who is also at your disposal for all related questions you may have.

Update cyber attack ASCO

Zaventem, Belgium, 15 June 2019, 13.30

Asco has become victim of a large scale ransomware attack. This attack caused a serious disruption on all of our activities and impacted our available communication means. As a precautionary measure all systems have been quarantined and the activities at all of our sites in Belgium, Canada, the United States and Germany were stopped.

Together with the relevant authorities, forensic and technical IT experts, our teams have taken control over the incident and are committed to reduce the consequent impact on the business activities. It is because of the specific nature of the attack that we want to assess every individual IT system not to compromise security, whilst guaranteeing the sustainability and quality of the solution and mitigation actions that are put in place. We take an approach of extreme caution as we cannot accept an impact on the security of the systems.

With the help of external expertise, we installed several work streams to allow a safe and secure restoration of our systems in the different sites. We are now gradually rolling out our business continuity strategy in order to restore operations. The forensics investigation is ongoing and to date this analysis has not identified evidence of the exfiltration of any information or the non-recoverable loss of it.

Currently our teams are putting in every effort to resolve the challenges caused by the attack. As a company, it is our top priority to provide clarity, continuity and support to our personnel, clients, suppliers and partners. As we gradually restart our operational activities over the course of the following days we will keep our employees as well as the involved clients, suppliers and other stakeholders informed via direct communication through the designated contact persons.

Overall communication around this topic is being coordinated by Mrs. Vicky Welvaert (+32 479 98 89 58) who is also at your disposal for any questions you may have.