Superior Aviation of Beijing, China, has agreed to acquire financially troubled Hawker Beechcraft for $1.79 billion. Under the terms of the “strategic combination,” Superior Aviation also agrees to make payments over the next six weeks of the “exclusivity period” to support ongoing jet-related operations as a means of sustaining the jet business until the transaction closes.
Barely two weeks after filing for U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Hawker Beechcraft Corporation (Stand 7060) told a pre-EBACE press conference on May 13 that it will be “well positioned for the future” when it emerges from that status later this year.
As of April 16, Hawker Beechcraft had not released its 2011 financial report, but the obligatory 10-K form filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission paints a picture of a difficult road ahead for the company.
In a statement issued April 13 announcing the filing, CEO Steve Miller said the document reflects “the combined effect of the prolonged weakness in our market that has continued to affect our business and the heavy debt burden the company has operated under since 2007.”
Hawker Beechcraft is marking its 80th anniversary this year as it enjoys strong growth in China, and Asian markets in general. As part of its celebrations the U.S. company has brought three of its key airplanes to the ABACE show: the super-midsize Hawker 4000; the midsize Hawker 900XP; and the Beechcraft King Air C90GTx twin turboprop.
Air charter firm XOJet announced today that it achieved more than a 30-percent year-over-year growth in flight hours last year. The company said its continued growth has been limited only by fleet size, since it claims demand has consistently exceeded capacity. To drive continued growth this year, XOJet is focused on expanding its fleet. In fact, the company placed an order for 12 Hawker Beechcraft Hawker 800XPr twinjets in October and introduced seven of these aircraft into its fleet this month.
Hawker Beechcraft Global Customer Support (Booth No. 947) announced it will begin offering satellite monitoring for the Hawker 750, 800XP, 850XP and 900XP.
Hawker Beechcraft on Tuesday reported an operating loss of $712 million on sales of $3.2 billion last year, compared with an operating profit of $140.3 million on $3.5 billion in sales in 2008. Besides lower sales last year, the company was affected by non-cash impairment and other charges totaling $726.4 million in the third quarter.
Hawker Beechcraft is establishing a new sales and customer support team in this part of the world. The U.S. manufacturer has recruited former Asia Jet CEO Justin Firestone as its new president for the AsiaPacific region. Firestone will continue to be based in Hong Kong and will lead a network of staff extending in Beijing, Singapore and Australia.
Hawker Beechcraft this morning reported $537.6 million in net sales in the first quarter, a decrease of $38.9 million from the year-ago time frame, but net after-tax income increased to $66.9 million, compared with a net after-tax loss of $31.3 million in the first three months of last year.
Piedmont Aircraft last month launched as an aircraft sales company for pre-owned Beechcraft and Hawker aircraft. Industry veteran Tom Mekis is leading the company as president and CEO. Piedmont Aircraft has offices in Winston-Salem and Charlotte, N.C., and Leesburg, Va.