Cirrus Aircraft Sold to Chinese Interests

AINonline
June 28, 2011, 10:30 AM

China Aviation Industry General Aircraft (Caiga) of Zhuhai, China, completed its acquisition of Duluth, Minn.-based Cirrus Aircraft today. Sellers include private-equity firm Arcapita, which owned 60 percent of Cirrus, and minority shareholders (including former Cirrus chairman and co-founder Alan Klapmeier). The plan to buy 100 percent of the light aircraft manufacturer for an estimated $210 million–minus Cirrus’s outstanding debts–was announced on February 28. However, U.S. concerns about technology transfer stretched out the consummation of the agreement. “We’re excited to have joined forces with Caiga,” said Cirrus president and CEO Brent Wouters. “This partnership will benefit our business and our customers. Caiga has the resources that will allow us to expedite our aircraft development programs and accelerate our global expansion.” Chief among these development programs is Cirrus’ single-engine Vision jet, a program that lack of funding has slowed to barely more than a snail’s pace for some time. At the Sun ’n’ Fun Fly-in in late March, Cirrus chairman Dale Klapmeier said it would take about 36 months from the close of the deal to achieve FAA certification and initial deliveries of the Vision jet. He added that the Chinese view the jet as Cirrus’s “growth engine.”

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