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Hawker Beechcraft seeks help to restructure debt

  • Bloomberg News
  • Published Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011, at 11:38 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012, at 11:05 a.m.

Hawker Beechcraft Corp., the Wichita-based jet maker part-owned by Goldman Sachs Group, hired Perella Weinberg Partners as it seeks an amendment to the terms of its revolving credit line.

“We are entering a phase of our business during which we will likely need to address our revolving credit agreement which was last amended more than two years ago,” Nicole Alexander, a spokeswoman for the company, said in an e-mailed statement.

Hawker Beechcraft is close to violating the terms of its loans, which require its cash flow to grow, as the weakening global economy cuts demand for its business jets and its liquidity slides. It’s in the interest of the company’s lenders to agree to loosen the covenants, according to Sam Goodyear, an analyst at CreditSights Inc. in New York.

“There’s a logical path to giving these guys a little more time,” Goodyear said Tuesday. “If it was forced to liquidate right now, given all the macro uncertainty related to Europe, they’re probably not going to maximize their recoveries.”

The company’s $182.9 million of 8.5 percent notes due in April 2015 fell 0.8 cent to 18.5 cents on the dollar Tuesday morning, the lowest in more than two years, according to Trace, the bond-price reporting system of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. The bonds traded for as much as 60.3 cents in August.

The loan terms require that the company make $112.5 million in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization this year, Goodyear said. Hawker must also maintain $162.5 million of liquidity, or cash plus available credit, according to Goodyear.

Hawker Beechcraft is in compliance with the covenants, Alexander said in an e-mail. The company hired Perella Weinberg to seek adjustments in a “timely and effective manner,” Alexander said in e-mails. She denied in a telephone interview that the company was planning an “imminent restructuring,” as Standard & Poor’s Leveraged Commentary & Data reported earlier Tuesday.

“We, like every other company in our aircraft market sectors, have experienced a large decrease in demand for our new aircraft products since 2008,” Alexander said in an e-mail. “We believe we are well balanced for market demand and production capacity going into 2012.”

Max Frumes, one of the reporters at S&P LCD who wrote the report, didn’t immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, the fifth-biggest U.S. bank’s private-equity arm, and Onex Corp. bought the company in 2007 for about $3.3 billion, giving the bank and Canada’s largest buyout firm equal stakes of 49 percent each.

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