A brief history of Fokker

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FOKKER'S BANKRUPTCY may seem like a thoroughly modern phenomenon, but a glance through the company's 80-year history shows that this was not the first time the Dutch manufacturer had sailed close to collapse.

THE EARLY DAYS

1912 Dutchman Anthony Fokker registers a company in Germany to put his monoplane design into production.

1913 Fokker builds fighters for the German army and continues through the First World War, including building Baron von Richthofen's Dr.I triplane.

1919 Fokker returns to the Netherlands to found factory in Amsterdam.

1920 Fokker produces its first airliner, the C.II, leading to a series of successful civil launches. It goes on to become the world's largest aircraft manufacturer, with bases in the Netherlands and USA.

1931 US production ceases as General Motors pulls out.

1934 in the aftermath of the Wall Street crash, Fokker asks the Dutch Government for financial aid.

THE WAR YEARS

1939 Anthony Fokker dies aged 49. A state subsidy is agreed, but war intervenes.

1941 Factories taken over by occupying German forces

1946 Government agrees to a cash injection.

RETURN TO CIVILIAN AIRCRAFT

1955 Fokker marks return to civil-aircraft market with maiden flight of the F27 Friendship.

1958 First Dutch-built F27 goes into service. The first US-built aircraft, produced under licence by Fairchild, had gone into service shortly before. Orders temporarily dry up, however, and Fokker is forced to seek help from banks and the Government.

1967 Fokker's first jet airliner, the F 28 Fellowship, has its maiden flight, while the F27 becomes the world's best-selling turboprop.

1969 Fokker merges with Germany's VFW.

1980 The merger with VFW, which was always tense, is abandoned

1985/6 Fokker 50 and Fokker 100 have maiden flights

RESCUE AND CONSOLIDATION

1987 Development costs push the company towards bankruptcy. Dutch Government steps in with a rescue package and a 49% stake.

1990 Fokker is back in profit but begins search, for an industry partner.

1992 Alliance approved with Daimler-Benz Aerospace (DASA), the called Deutsche Aerospace, but negotiations drag on with the Dutch Government.

THE BEGINNING OF THE END

1993 March: Faced with dwindling profits, the company plans to shed 2,100 jobs and cut back production.

April: An agreement is signed with DASA, under which it takes control of Fokker with 51% of a new majority holding company. Fokker 70 has maiden flight.

1994 March: Management announces a further 1,900 staff cuts and caps annual production at 40 aircraft.

July: DASA agrees on a capital injection of DF1600 million ($350 million), while the Dutch Government supports the company indirectly through a DF1420 million sale lease back of patents.

1995 February: With sales sliding and losses mounting, a new rationalisation plan is launched, including the closure of two plants and another 1,760 job losses.

July: After massive half-year losses Fokker reveals that it needs Df12.3 billion of fresh capital to keep afloat.

August: DASA provides bridging finance worth around DFl1.5 billion, while talks take place with the Dutch Government over refinancing. DASA's support includes agreement to take 69 leased aircraft off Fokker's books.

December: DASA says that it will continue its support until the end of the year after Fokker's shares dive on rumours of imminent collapse. DASA makes clear that it will only join the refinancing if the Dutch Government puts up half the funding.

1996 THE FINAL DAYS

18 January: DASA makes unsuccessful last-ditch attempts to win concessions from the Dutch Government.

22 January: Daimler-Benz ends financial support.

23 January: Fokker seeks court protection from its creditors. Starts search for new partners.

26 January: The Dutch Government extends bridging finance of DFl365 million to keep the company open "at least until the end of February".

27 February: Bombardier pulls out of take-over talks. Fokker is given a two-week stay of execution, as other talks continue. A group of Dutch businesses and banks look at forming a consortium. China's Aviation Industries and South Korea's Samsung emerge as possible buyers.

14 March: The final deadline passes without any bid.

15 March: Fokker declares bankruptcy.