THE chairman of the Dorset-based aerospace giant Cobham has insisted a £4billion US buyout would secure jobs in Britain.

The government is waiting for a report by the Competition and Markets Authority before deciding whether to approve the takeover by private equity firm Advent International.

Advent’s bid was approved by 93 per cent of investors last month, despite opposition from Lady Nadine Cobham, whose late husband Michael built up the Wimborne-headquartered business.

The Times has reported that Advent will pledge to keep UK job numbers at current levels of 1,800 or higher, invest in research and development and keep the Cobham brand.

Cobham chairman Jamie Pike said the takeover was an “emotive” issue but would secure jobs.

Writing in The Times, he said: “The endorsement from 93 per cent per cent of our shareholders (who voted) for the acquisition unequivocally answers whether the board was correct to recommend the offer at the price we did.

“We recognise that the board’s view that Advent is an appropriate owner for Cobham is an emotive one and it is correct that it is examined. However, the board’s unanimous recommendation took account of an analysis of the clear benefits that Advent’s ownership could deliver for the company, its customers and by extension the UK.”

He said the defence sector was dominated by the US, whose annual defence spending exceeds the combined spend of the next seven countries.

“As a result, Cobham in the UK actually benefits greatly from significant US funding of its engineering,” he added.

“Although Cobham already has a material US business, under Advent’s ownership, Cobham will be able to compete for a significantly greater proportion of the US defence market, which cannot be procured from non-US companies. This is an important opportunity for growth – growth that should secure high-value British jobs and further strengthen the defence industry in the UK.”

He added: “This is an important moment for Cobham, one which will define its future, unlocking opportunities for growth, job creation and benefits for all of its stakeholders.”

Critics of the takeover bid include ex-MI6 head Sir John Sawers and Liberal Democrat business spokesman Chuka Umunna.

The business that became Cobham was founded in 1935 by aviator Sir Alan Cobham and moved to Dorset in 1947. Sir Alan’s son Michael succeeded him in 1969 and saw the business floated on the Stock Exchange in 1985.