Beechcraft has received broad interest – including from groups in Wichita and around the world – in its business jet assets and is moving closer to a sale, a top company official said Wednesday.
The company expects to have a deal closed before the end of the year.
“The interest has been worldwide,” said Beechcraft CEO Bill Boisture. “There have been international, U.S. and local interest in these assets.”
Potential buyers are currently performing their due diligence.
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“That’s got a fairly short time frame on it,” Boisture said of the due diligence process. “It’s a very orderly process. They will be down selected. Then there will be some negotiation and an eventual decision to sell to one party or another.”
Beechcraft halted business jet production as it reorganized during Chapter 11 bankruptcy in order to concentrate on its King Air, Baron, Bonanza, military and after-market businesses.
As a result, the company put Plant III and its equipment, the Hawker 4000 and Premier type certificates, work that was in process on the two models, along with the lease on its Little Rock completions facility, on the market.
Type certificates for the Hawker 400 series and Hawker 700/800/900 series jets are not for sale because they are a core part of Beechcraft’s aftermarket business, the company has said.
Potential buyers have a variety of ideas about how to use the composite manufacturing capabilities of Plant III, Boisture said.
“As far as the use of the type designs to restart production, some of the buyers have indicated that as a possibility,” he said. “I think the mainstream of those buyers envision a long-term business built around the support of those types of airplanes, the modification of them over time and providing service to the owners of those airplanes in a very focused way. There will be businesses around the aftermarket support of the Premier fleet and the (Hawker) 4000 fleet.”
Beechcraft will evaluate bids based on price and on the party’s ability to close the deal, Boisture said.
“We appreciate the interest in these assets,” Boisture said. “There will be some transitional phases that we’ll have to go into to support their acquisition of those assets.”
But, Boisture said, “as we clearly stated in the reorganization, these assets are not core to our business. They need to be sold.”
Beechcraft, he said, “needs to be focused on Beechcraft.”