Safran to Sell Morpho, ID Unit Could Also Be in Play

The French company is in talks with potential buyers for the Morpho security unit it is selling because it doesn’t fit with the company’s other businesses, CEO Philippe Petitcolin told reporters.

French aerospace supplier Safran SA announced a review of its remaining security activities after putting its Morpho airport explosives detection business up for sale, tying its future to aviation and defense.

The partially state-owned aerospace and defense group also signaled interest in adding to its aircraft equipment business that includes landing gear and brakes and already makes up 28% of revenue, according to the Wall Street Journal

The review of what to do with its security businesses that also make secure identity cards and operates in biometrics would take a maximum of six months, CEO Philippe Petitcolin told reporters ahead of an investor briefing. Options range from retaining the activities to a sale.

Safran had about $2 billion in sales last year in its security businesses, Petitcolin said.

Safran acquired Morpho in 2009 from General Electric Co. “We have never been able to find any kind of synergies with the rest of the security businesses,” Petitcolin told reporters. The unit had sales of around $350 million. Safran is talking with several potential buyers, the CEO said.

As part of its heightened focus on the aircraft and defense markets, Petitcolin said the company would consider adding to its aircraft equipment business. No particular target has been identified, he said, adding that any deal would only be done at the right price.

“It is not a question of size, it is a question of sharing the same DNA as Safran,” CFO Bernard Delpit said. The company has the financial resources for deals, he said.

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