On 20 December 2019, the then Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy issued a public interest intervention notice in relation to the proposed acquisition of Mettis Aerospace by Aerostar, a fund established in China, either directly or through Ligeance Aerospace Technology, a company owned by Aerostar and incorporated in China.
The decision to intervene was on public interest grounds relating to national security under the Enterprise Act 2002. The Secretary of State discharges this responsibility in a quasi-judicial capacity, which means that he or she must act, and be seen to act, in a fair and impartial manner. The decision was reached after considering representations from the Secretary of State for Defence.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) was asked to prepare a report on the jurisdictional, competition and national security aspects of the proposed transaction and this was received on 13 February 2020. They confirm that the parties no longer intend to pursue the proposed acquisition. They have provided the CMA with written evidence and assurances to support this conclusion.
As such, the Secretary of State has today ended the intervention and, as a result, lifted an order which prevented the completion of the transaction and the transfer of material or information between the parties.
Today’s decision does not preclude the government from using its powers again should the circumstances change.