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Boeing Signs Supply Deal With Abu Dhabi Company

Tue, 04/17/2012 - 1:56pm
Adam Schreck, AP Business Writer

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Abu Dhabi's state-owned Mubadala Aerospace signed a deal Tuesday with Boeing Co. to build carbon composite parts for the American planemaker's 777 and 787 jetliners, strengthening the Gulf emirate's push to become an aerospace hub.

The agreement includes a 10-year contract for Mubadala's Strata Manufacturing division to produce ribs used in the planes' tails at its plant in Al Ain. Chicago-based Boeing says the contract is its first composites supply deal with the Arab world.

Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates, an OPEC member that is home to fast-growing Emirates and Etihad Airways, two of the Middle East's largest carriers.

The oil-rich sheikdom is diversifying its economy by pushing into high-tech fields such as aerospace and renewable energy.

Dubai-based Emirates is the world's largest operator of Boeing's 777. Its Abu Dhabi rival Etihad also uses the widebody jets, and has orders for 41 of Boeing's new carbon fiber 787, the most 787 orders of any airline.

"The UAE is one of Boeing's most important commercial and defense customers," Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Jim Albaugh said in a statement. "Boeing has been committed for several years to build a partnership with Mubadala Aerospace that brings long-term, mutual benefits to both companies."

Financial terms were not disclosed. Mubadala's Strata expects to deliver the first components in 2013.

The companies said Strata is poised to supply more complicated vertical fin assemblies for the 787 "based on its competitiveness and performance."

Strata began operations in 2010. It is already producing parts for Boeing rival Airbus' A330 and A340 planes.

Strata and Mubadala Aerospace are divisions of Mubadala Development Co., one of several firms Abu Dhabi uses to invest its oil wealth. It owns part of General Electric Co., the Carlyle Group and Brazilian conglomerate EBX Group.

Mubadala's aviation holdings include a stake in Italian planemaker Piaggio Aero Industries and aircraft service provider SR Technics.

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