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CBJ Report: Safran agrees to buy Rockwell Collins' actuator unit

Safran agrees to buy Rockwell Collins' actuator unit

Safran S.A., the French aerospace company expected to buy Rockwell Collins' actuator business ahead of United Technologies' $30 billion acquisition of Rockwell, appears to be moving forward with the deal.

Safran's mid-year financial report, released in September, indicates it has signed an agreement to purchase Rockwell Collins' actuators, pilot controls and special products business. The terms of the deal were not disclosed in the report, and the acquisition remains subject to regulatory approval, the company noted. It is expected to close in the first half of 2019.

If approved, the deal will expand the electrical actuation and flight control business lines of Safran, which already manufactures aircraft engines, landing systems, electrical systems and cabin equipment.

The company was named by executives including UTC Chairman and CEO Gregory Hayes as the likely buyer of Rockwell Collins' actuators business - one of two divisions Rockwell must sell before the U.S. Department of Justice will approve its merger with UTC - but a deal had not been confirmed until now.

Rockwell Collins must still sell its deicing systems business before the transaction with UTC can proceed. Only one other company makes plane deicing systems, giving UTC the ability to profitability to raise prices and offer less favorable contract terms to planemakers and aftermarket customers, the DOJ said in its decision.

Transamerica inks $195M settlement over universal life premiums

Insurer Transamerica will pay $195 million to settle a lawsuit charging that it breached its obligations when it hiked premiums on some of its universal life insurance contracts in 2015 and 2016.

Plantiffs in the suit, Feller et al v. Transamerica Life Insurance Co., held the company's adjustable universal life policies - essentially life insurance with an investment savings element and the ability to adjust the policy's premium. They said that in August 2015, the company began instituting "sudden and unilateral" monthly premium increases of nearly 40 percent on approximately 70,000 universal life policies, breaching its obligations and violating California state law.

Transamerica maintains that the premium adjustments were "necessitated by low long-term interest rates, changes in expectations as to future mortality experience, and other factors, and in accordance with the policies' contractual terms."

The settlement comes as insurance companies struggle to pay out claims on universal life contracts with generous provisions inked during times of higher rates, Investment News reports. Last year, AXA Equitable Life Insurance Co. and Voya Financial also upped costs on some in-force universal life policies.

The agreement creates a settlement class of all Transamerica policyholders that were subject to the 2015 and 2016 monthly deduction rate adjustments. The settlement remains subject to approval by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Impacted policyholders will receive notice approved by the court with details of the settlement.

Under the terms of the agreement, Transamerica will also absorb additional costs for attorneys' fees, class notice and administration. The capital and pre-tax IFRS impacts are expected to be in the range of the amount of the settlement.

Transamerica has a 60-plus-year history in Cedar Rapids, including operations under its predecessor company, Life Investors. It has been part of the Dutch financial company Aegon N.V. for about two decades.

EDC Innovation Expo

The Corridor celebrated entrepreneurs from around the state yesterday as part of the EDC’s annual Innovation Expo.

The daylong conference included two separate pitch competitions, an innovator’s expo featuring more than 100 exhibitors and a keynote from City Manager Jeff Pomeranz on the importance of innovation.

Pitch winners included an Iowa City startup called VerdiLife, which is making an all-natural wood vinegar, and Viewpoint Molecular Targeting, a UI spinout developing targeted cancer treatments.

The EDC also celebrated its 15th anniversary helping entrepreneurs succeed.

You can read more about that event and more business stories in this Monday’s edition of the CBJ.

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