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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Hawker Beechcraft bid deadline up

Several companies may be interested in portions of company

By Molly McMillin
The Wichita Eagle

Parties interested in bidding on Hawker Beechcraft during its restructuring had until this week to submit the documentation on their bids.

But the bids will not be made public as part of the company’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, Hawker Beechcraft spokeswoman Nicole Alexander said.

She did not have more information to provide, Alexander said.

Along with its restructuring, Hawker Beechcraft is exploring a sale of the company, a lawyer for Hawker Beechcraft told the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan late last month.

Kirkland & Ellis lawyer Patrick Nash Jr. told the court at the time that there had been a fair amount of activity in that regard.

“Depending on what we get, this case could become even more interesting,” Nash told the court, according to the Dow Jones Daily Bankruptcy Review at the time.

Nash did not return a call for comment Friday afternoon.

Several companies have been rumored as interested in portions of Hawker Beechcraft’s business.

In April, Scott Donnelly, Textron chairman and CEO, told analysts that the company is keeping an eye on Hawker Beechcraft.

“There are certainly some assets there that we think would be very interesting,” Donnelly said during a conference call about Textron’s first-quarter financial results at the time. Textron is Cessna Aircraft’s parent company.

An executive for Brazil-based Embraer also has expressed interest.

It’s not known whether either company has submitted a bid.

Hawker Beechcraft manufactures business jet, turboprop and piston aircraft, special mission and trainer and attack aircraft under the Hawker and Beechcraft names.

It also operates a global network of more than 100 service centers that support a fleet of more than 34,000 aircraft currently in service.

The financially troubled Hawker Beechcraft has until the end of June to file the specifics of its restructuring plan.

The company expects to emerge from bankruptcy by the end of the year, company officials have said.

It intends to emerge as an independent company, Alexander said late last month. “But as is the case with every other company, we must evaluate all of our options in order to be positioned for the future.”

Hawker Beechcraft filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring following a prolonged downturn in the business jet industry and a heavy debt load undertaken when Goldman Sachs and Onex Partners bought the company in 2007 from Raytheon Inc. The bankruptcy will eliminate $2.5 billion in debt. The company also secured a $400 million loan to help it conduct business during the restructuring process.

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com.

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