Paris: The Airbus Group will sell its Defence Electronics business to US investors KKR for €1.1 billion (Dh4.5 billion, $1.2 billion), a deal which will be finalised over the next year, the European aeronautics giant announced Friday.

“This is a significant step forward in the portfolio reorganisation announced by the Airbus Defence and Space Division in September 2014,” Airbus said in a statement.

The group will retain a minority stake “to ensure a smooth and seamless transition”.

Bernhard Gerwert, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, said: “This is an excellent outcome for our Orlando process which aimed at repositioning Defence Electronics for the future with an excellent outcome for all stakeholders.

“Defence Electronics is a strong, profitable business with significant growth potential and we are convinced that KKR and the Defence Electronics management team and employees will continue to strongly develop the business,” he said.

Johannes Huth, head of KKR Europe, Middle East and Africa, said KKR “will support the growth and development of the company with its financial resources, international network, long-standing expertise in the global industrial sector and its extensive experience.”

Based in Ulm, Germany, Airbus’s defence electronics arm has around 4,000 employees worldwide. Its work is mainly in combat avionics, optronics and sensors.

Airbus wants its strategy in the military sector to focus on planes and missiles.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of next year, Airbus said.