By Chris Durden
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
3:47 PM CDT, July 9, 2012
Struggling planemaker Hawker Beechcraft will be acquired by a Chinese firm the company announced Monday afternoon.
Hawker Beechcraft says Beijing-based Superior Aviation Beijing Co., Ltd. plans to maintain Hawker Beechcraft’s existing operations while investing capital in the company and its business and general aviation product line.
Under the terms of the deal, Superior would purchase Hawker for $1.79 billion. It would make payments over the next six weeks to support Hawker's on-going operations.
"Superior has had a long-standing interest in the commercial aircraft business of Hawker Beechcraft, having first approached the company several years ago regarding a potential strategic partnership," CEO Steve Miller said in a statement.
The Wichita City Council heard about the sale this afternoon. Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer issued the following statement:
"At this time, the City is working to gain a better understanding of how the proposed acquisition may impact our community. We understand the financial challenges Hawker has faced and are optimistic this acquisition could preserve jobs and help Hawker avoid difficult financial decisions. We’re encouraged by Hawker’s statement today which indicated Superior intends to maintain Hawker Beechcraft’s U.S. headquarters, management team and employees and continue product development throughout its commercial lines. We will continue to closely monitor this situation, remain in communication with Hawker and work diligently to protect the City’s investment and aviation jobs which are so vital to our community.”
Hawker Beechcraft filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early May. The company is currently undergoing restructuring in banktrupcty court and several companies have shown interest in buying the planemaker.
The sale is subject to approval by Chinese authorities, the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States and other regulatory reviews and approvals.
If the sale is not finalized within 45 days, Hawker would continue with the banktrupcty process.
Bill Boisture, Chairman of Hawker Beechcraft Corporation, said, “The decision to move forward with Superior was based on two key factors: the bid for the company was the most attractive we received during the strategic review process and the going-forward plan offered the most continuity for our business, allowing us to preserve jobs, product lines and our ability to maintain our commitments to our customers. Superior is committed to maintaining Hawker Beechcraft’s strong presence in the United States and retaining its current employee base and experienced management team, while positioning the company for future growth at home and abroad.”
The deal does not include the Hawker Beechcraft Defense Company (HBDC). It would remain a separate entity and likely be sold separately.
Superior is 60 percent owned by Beijing Superior Aviation Technology Corporation Ltd., a closely-held private entity, and 40 percent owned by Beijing E-Town International Investment & Development Corporation Ltd., a company controlled by the Beijing municipal government that supports the financing of strategic investments in certain industries.
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