Eclipse finds the money – the VLJs will keep coming

Welcome to the fast-changing world of who owns who in general aviation…

Eclipse has secured more than $100 million in new equity to fill the hole in its finances left by the failure to deliver on its promise of producing 500 VLJs in its first year (it built 103). The money is coming from ETIRC, a Dutch investment firm with connections to Russia and Eclipse’s distributor in Europe, the CIS and Turkey. ETIRC will become Eclipse’s single largest shareholder, but still with a minority stake.

This is just the latest transaction in the investment-hungry world of GA. Here are some of the others:

Hawker Beechcraft – the former Raytheon Aircraft was bought by private equity firms Onex and Goldman Sachs for $3.3 billion in March 2007.

Adam Aircraft – has raised $200 million in equity and debt to produce the A500 piston twin and A700 VLJ, with Goldman Sachs as its largest outside investor.

Epic Aircraft – has sold a 50% stake to Indian brewery and airline magnate Vijay Mallya for around $200 million to finance development of very light jets and turboprops

Columbia Aircraft – piston-single manufacturer was bought out of bankruptcy protection by Cessna in December for $26.4 million.

Sino Swearingen – UK distributor Action Aviation is finalising a buy-out from Taiwan with private-equity financing to ramp up production of the SJ30 light jet

Cirrus Design – it has been reported that Bahrain-backed majority owner Arcapita wants to sell the light-aircraft maker, which needs funds to develop a single-engined jet.


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