Iced out of a deal with Boeing?

A tiny firm sues, after missing out on the 787 contract.

By Phaedra Hise, FSB contributor

(FSB magazine) -- When Boeing showed interest in Thermion System's wing de-icing technology in 2002, the startup thought it had arrived. "Getting on the 787 would have given us the Good Housekeeping seal of approval," says Thermion vice president Jeffrey Parkin. The company, based in Stratford, Conn., says it spent $10 million to perfect its system. But because Boeing wouldn't buy directly from such a small outfit, it hooked up with industry giant GKN Aerospace (aerospace.gknplc.com), which went on to win a 14-year contract to make part of the de-icing system. In 2004, GKN issued a press release announcing a partnership with Thermion to work on the 787, but no contract was signed and Thermion (thermion.com) received no orders. With its hopes circling the drain, Thermion filed a $75 million lawsuit last October, alleging that GKN had substituted its own technology to grab a greater share of the 787 contract. Officials at GKN decline to comment. The case has been sent to arbitration in Britain (where both firms had offices). Thermion says being iced out of the deal may kill the company, which had $1 million in sales in 2006. It has closed its British research facility, and calls from potential aviation clients have ceased. Top of page

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.