Daily News: July 10, 2012

Hawker Beechcraft Accepts $1.79B Offer From Chinese Firm

Hawker Beechcraft announced that it has executed an exclusivity agreement with Superior Aviation Beijing (Superior), a Beijing-based aerospace manufacturer, regarding a strategic combination.

Under the terms of the exclusivity agreement, Superior will acquire Hawker Beechcraft for $1.79 billion and make payments over the next six weeks to support ongoing jet-related operations, which will help Hawker Beechcraft to sustain the jet business until the close of the transaction, thus preserving significant future opportunity for growth.

Should the transaction be completed, Superior intends to maintain Hawker Beechcraft’s existing operations while also investing substantial capital in the company and its business and general aviation product line, saving thousands of American jobs, including in Wichita, KS and Little Rock, AK.

The plane maker said it entered into this agreement as part of its ongoing review of strategic options, which included continuing to operate as a standalone entity, and decided to proceed with Superior after determining that its proposal would create the greatest value for the company and position it for long-term growth.

The transaction with Superior would not include Hawker Beechcraft Defense Company (HBDC), which would remain a separate entity. HBDC will continue to operate its highly successful T-6 trainer program and pursue the final certification of the AT-6 light attack aircraft.

In the event that HBDC is sold, up to $400 million of the $1.79 billion purchase price will be refundable to Superior.

If negotiations with Superior are not concluded in a timely manner, Hawker Beechcraft will proceed with seeking confirmation of the joint plan of reorganization it filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court on June 30, 2012, which contemplates Hawker Beechcraft emerging as a standalone entity with a more focused portfolio of aircraft.

Robert S. (Steve) Miller, CEO of Hawker Beechcraft, said, “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. With Superior’s previous experience operating a U.S. business and its demonstrated ability to quickly restore a business to profitability after emerging from Chapter 11, we believe a transaction with Superior would maximize value for Hawker Beechcraft and its stakeholders. Importantly, this combination would give Hawker Beechcraft greater access to the Chinese business and general aviation marketplace, which is forecast to grow more than 10% a year for the next 10-15 years. We look forward to working toward a definitive agreement.”

To red the full Hawker Beechcraft news release, click here.

Previously on abfjournal.com:

Hawker Beechcraft Reports $90 Million Net Loss in May, Friday, June 29, 2012