Boeing Co. today agreed to buy the manufacturing operations of South Carolina-based Vought Aircraft Industries, a key supplier for its much-delayed 787 Dreamliner, in a deal that’s causing much consternation in Seattle, NPR reports. Boeing has long threatened to leave its production base in Washington state for cheaper pastures, and Vought’s South Carolina plant is surrounded by enough empty land for a full-blown 787 production line.
Boeing declined to comment on the speculation. The deal will cost a total of $1 billion; Boeing will pay $580 million in cash, and forgive $422 million in cash advances to Vought. One Seattle-based analyst says the deal may galvanize those hoping to keep Boeing in Washington. “Maybe this is the 2x4 upside the head that they need to wake up.”