Umeco - the West Midlandsbased aerospace group which lists both Airbus and arch-rival Boeing among its customers - yesterday strengthened its drive into Europe with the acquisition of French specialist firm Antavia.

Umeco, based in Leamington Spa, is paying £8.7 million for Antavia to create its first repair and overhaul base in mainland Europe.

Antavia, based in Toulouse, is a privately owned provider of repair and overhaul services to the aerospace industry.

Umeco said the vendor, Serge Dumas, would remain with Antavia, which carries out maintenance, repair and overhaul of a wide range of aircraft equipment including wheels and brakes, landing gear, cabin equipment, hydraulic systems, lights and electronics and electromechanical actuators.

Umeco chief executive Clive Snowdon said: "The acquisition of Antavia continues our expansion in Europe following the acquisition of Provest in Italy last year. The business becomes our first repair and overhaul base in France and will complement our existing service offerings through our AEM, Avionics Mobile Services and Aeromedic Innovations operations across the world.

"Antavia has a strong client base that takes advantage of their wide range of services and we are delighted to be further improving the breadth and high levels of service enjoyed by existing Umeco customers through this acquisition."