Dubai, Carlyle and the "Good" Ragheads
I know all you want to talk about is the Constitutional Crisis, but this caught my attention:
March 20 (Bloomberg) -- Dubai, the Gulf sheikhdom forced to sell its U.S. port assets last year on security fears, aims to buy two U.S. aircraft repair companies operating in the U.S. and is wooing American lawmakers to avoid a political backlash.
State-owned Dubai Aerospace Enterprise plans to buy Landmark Aviation and Standard Aero Holdings Inc. from the Carlyle Group in ``a couple of weeks,'' Chief Executive Officer Bob Johnson said in a phone interview today. It has hired advisers to help it ``carve out'' parts of the deal that might concern U.S. politicians as Standard Aero has some defense contracts, he said.
Those contracts, are ``in very routine areas, not of any security concern at all,'' Johnson said.
Dubai, the second-biggest emirate in the United Arab Emirates, will pay buyout firm Carlyle more than $1.5 billion for the two companies, people familiar with their talks told Bloomberg yesterday. That figure is in the ``ballpark'' Johnson said today, declining to be more specific.
Last year, Dubai-owned DP World's purchase of terminals at six U.S. ports triggered a furor among U.S. lawmakers such as Senator Charles Schumer of New York, who said the deal would compromise national security. DP World on March 16 completed the sale of the facilities to AIG Global Investment Group, fulfilling a pledge to divest itself of the U.S. operations.
``This purchase is not as much of a security risk as Dubai Ports World,'' Schumer, a New York Democrat, said in a statement yesterday. With proper security reviews, ``the deal is unlikely to have problems in Congress.''
Tempe, Arizona-based Landmark repairs Boeing Co. and General Dynamics Corp.'s Gulfstream business jets, among others.
Landmark calls itself one of North America's largest providers of services for the business aviation industry and has repair facilities at 19 U.S. locations. Winnipeg, Manitoba- based Standard Aero repairs military and business aircraft for 1,400 customers, the biggest of which are Lockheed Martin Corp. and Rolls Royce Group Plc.
Dubai Aerospace, formed last year with a stated goal to become a $15 billion airport and aviation services company, likes Landmark and Standard Aero's focus on the aviation overhaul and repair industry, Johnson said today.
``We have no intention of moving them from where they are. But as the market becomes more global we think there's an opportunity to extend them into regions of growth,'' like Europe, the Middle East and Asia, he said.
Dubai Aerospace's buyout would be subject to review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a panel headed by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson that's assigned to make sure foreign investment doesn't compromise national security.
Dubai is contacting members of Congress including Schumer and Senator Joseph Lieberman, a Connecticut independent who heads the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, to help push the transaction through, the people familiar with Dubai Aerospace's plans said yesterday.
The company has become ``very aware and very knowledgeable about the review process,'' and is lobbying proactively, Johnson said today. A review will not be conducted until the buyout is completed, he said.
I'm not arguing that it's necessarily a bad thing in this age of the global economy to have foreign owners of "American" companies. But I do find it amusing- it's so clear that our Congresscritters really serve these Masters, and not us. Issues like "security" and "terrorist threat" go out the windows when billions of dollars are at stake, and Democrats are no better than Republicans when it comes to making sure America is safe for private equity
looting investment. It must be tough to be a wingnut and hear this news, "No, no, these are the good towelheads. We can trust them."
Remember, "no one could've predicted Bin Laden would use airplanes as weapons" or something like that.