Adani Defence and Aerospace, the defence manufacturing arm of Adani Group, has inked a pact to acquire Air Works, the country’s biggest aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) organisation, for an enterprise value of ₹400 crore. The acquisition will strengthen the civil aviation portfolio of billionaire Gautam Adani-led Adani Group, which operates seven airports in the country - Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Thiruvananthapuram, Jaipur, Guwahati, and Mangaluru.

The Indian MRO market has a crucial role to play in both the defence and civilian aerospace sector, and is expected to grow three times from $1.7 billion to $5 billion by 2030, Adani Defence and Aerospace said in a release on Tuesday.

Established in 1951, Air Works Group is India’s largest and highly diversified independent MRO with the largest pan-India network presence across 27 cities. From business and executive jets to airlines and defense platforms, Air Works provides aviation services to most domestic airlines such as IndiGo, GoAir, SpiceJet, and Vistara. It also provides services to international aviation companies such as Qatar, Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, FlyDubai, Etihad, and Virgin Atlantic.

Besides, Air Works has developed extensive operational capabilities within the country for key defence and aerospace platforms. From the first P-8I aircraft Phase 32 checks to Phase 48 checks and MRO on the landing gear of the Indian Air Force’s 737 VVIP aircraft, it undertakes base maintenance for ATR 42/72, A320 and B737 fleet of aircraft from its EASA and DGCA-certified facilities at Mumbai, Delhi, Hosur and Kochi.

Commenting on the deal, Ashish Rajvanshi, CEO of Adani Defence & Aerospace, said, “Given India's growth trajectory and the government's focus to network the nation through a massive mesh of air connectivity, it is inevitable that the primary growth of India's airline and airport sector lies ahead of it. Therefore, the maintenance, repair, and overhaul sector has a crucial role to play in both the defence and civilian aerospace sectors. Add to this the ongoing modernisation program to make India a large market for defence aircrafts, and what emerges is one of the most exciting, comprehensive, at scale and digital MRO services within the boundaries of the nation.”

“Works has impeccable proven capabilities and over its 70-year aviation legacy has successfully delivered several India-first and industry-first projects. Combine this with the Adani Group's capabilities and what we get is an entity that truly represents what an Atmanirbhar Bharat in a critical sector should look like," Rajvanshi added.

Anand Bhaskar, MD & CEO, Air Works Group said, “India has the potential to become the MRO hub for the region across defence and civil aircrafts. It is a wonderful opportunity for Air Works and its employees to be subsumed under Adani Defence & Aerospace platform. The government’s policy measures and initiatives including convergence of civil and defence MRO would create economies of scale and huge employment opportunities.”

As of March 31, 2021, GTI Capital Group, an India-focused investment company, was the largest shareholder in Air Works Group with 25.75% stake, followed by Punj Lloyd Aviation, a subsidiary of Punj Lloyd (23.24%), and the Menon family (15%), which founded the company in 1951.

Over the years, the Adani Group has signed a slew of deals in the defence sector including the acquisition of the Bengaluru-based Alpha Designs, a firm which also caters to the aerospace sector, and a joint venture with Israeli firm Elbit Systems. It also acquired 51% stake in the small arms business of Gwalior-based PLR Systems in an all-cash transaction.

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