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Rockwell Collins acquisition 'on track,' United Technologies CEO says

Acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter this year

People arrive for a special meeting of shareholders for Rockwell Collins at the Cedar Rapids Marriott in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
People arrive for a special meeting of shareholders for Rockwell Collins at the Cedar Rapids Marriott in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

As July comes to an end, the head of United Technologies Corp. said Tuesday the pending acquisition of Rockwell Collins is on schedule to finish up later this year.

“With regard to the closing of the transaction, let me just say that we’re on track with the regulatory approvals. We believe we’re down to the final stages of the process. We expect the transaction to close here still in the third quarter,” UTC CEO Greg Hayes said on an earnings call.

UTC announced its plans to acquire Rockwell Collins, Cedar Rapids’s largest employer, in September 2017, saying at the time the deal was expected to close sometime between July and September of this year.

At the beginning of 2018, leaders from both companies indicated the deal could close as early as this month. But as of Tuesday, the acquisition still required regulatory approval from a few countries.

“We do feel we are in the closing stages of the approvals,” UTC Chief Financial Officer Akhil Johri said on the call.

The European Union and the Philippines are among the governmental bodies that already have approved UTC’s acquisition of Rockwell. Asked in early July for an update on their review of the deal, the U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment.

The deal would have Farmington, Conn.-based UTC acquire Rockwell Collins for about $30 billion, including debt.

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Rockwell would combine with a UTC aerospace subsidiary to form new division Collins Aerospace Systems.

Collins Aerospace is expected to have about 70,000 employees — Rockwell has about 30,000 employees globally — and executive offices in Palm Beach County, Fla. Cedar Rapids would be home to two of Collins Aerospace’s internal business units, the companies announced earlier this year.

Current Rockwell Chairman, President and CEO Kelly Ortberg would serve as CEO of the new division.

Once the deal closes, Collins Aerospace employees may have to face another corporate change as UTC examines whether it should breakup into three separate companies. On Tuesday, Hayes said his company had “nothing more to report today” on that review.

“We continue to believe that we will have a decision here in the fourth quarter that we’ll share with everybody. But nothing new to report other than the fact that we continue to do the analysis and continue to work through that process,” Hayes said.

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