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Business

Goodrich Sale Reduces Charlotte's Fortune 500 Clout

http://66.225.205.104/JR20110922a.mp3

And then there were seven. Mecklenburg County can no longer claim ownership to the headquarters of eight Fortune 500 companies. Aerospace manufacturer Goodrich is being swallowed by Connecticut-based United Technologies in a deal worth more than $18 billion. 

Goodrich just might be the least-understood of Charlotte's Fortune 500 companies. Bank of America handles money. Duke Energy makes electricity. Family Dollar sells bargains. And Goodrich makes tires, right?

Actually, Goodrich sold its tire business to Michelin over 20 years ago. "We're giving up the highway for the runway," the company said in an ad at the time. Back then, Goodrich was based in Ohio. In the late 1990s, it bought a company in Charlotte called Coltec Industries and moved here.

Today, Goodrich is known for making aircraft landing gear and engine parts. Boeing, Airbus and the U.S. military are among its largest customers. Goodrich reported sales last year of just under $7 billion. It is now being acquired by the much larger United Technologies for a total value of more than twice that - $18.4 billion.

"It's a well-run company that I think will fit smack in the middle of our core-competency," said United Technologies CEO Louis Chenevert on a conference call with investors. "If you're a shareholder of Goodrich, it's a great day," says Charlotte Chamber President Bob Morgan.

Goodrich stockholders will get $127.50 a share for stock that was trading at $86.50 a week ago. Charlotte loses a bit, though. "It is the loss of a corporate headquarters and you can't minimize that loss," says Morgan. Goodrich - and its CEO Marshall Larsen - have been fixtures in Charlotte's civic and philanthropic community, supporting arts, education and economic development efforts.

Larsen will stay in Charlotte as CEO of a new aerospace systems division of United Technologies. The company has not said how Goodrich's 200 corporate headquarters employees and some 300 workers at a service center in Monroe will be affected by the acquisition. But United Technologies CEO Louis Chenevert told investors there's very little overlap between his company and Goodrich - which was part of what made the deal so attractive.