Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) is one of America's largest multi-industry companies. Headquartered in Providence RI, Textron ranks 149th on the FORTUNE 500 list of largest US companies. Since the founding of the company in 1923, Textron has grown to revenues of $10 billion and 64,000 employees. The "Tex" was derived from textiles and the "tron" came from synthetic fibers such as "Lustron", reflecting the company's origins in the textile industry. In 1952 the company began to diversify by acquiring businesses in unrelated industries.
In 1960 Textron purchased Bell Aerospace, which included Bell Helicopter, to balance Textron's earnings base by increasing its government business. In November 1984, Textron announced plans to acquire Avco Corporation of Connecticut, a conglomerate of almost equal size with pre-acquisition revenue of $2.9 billion. Overnight, Textron nearly doubled in size. By the end of the 1980's, Textron had divested more than 20 companies as well as several product lines, although it acquired Cessna Aircraft Company in 1992. From 1989 to the end of 1997, Textron divested non-core businesses with $2.8 billion in revenue and bolstered its core by acquiring businesses with $3.9 billion in revenue.
Bell Helicopter Textron, with a 40 percent commercial market share, is the world's leader in commercial helicopter production and is the pioneer of tiltrotor aircraft development. Cessna Aircraft Company is the leading worldwide manufacturer of light and mid-size business jets, with 52 percent market share.
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