The general aviation arm of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) has emerged as the front runner in the bidding war to purchase the assets of Texas-based Emivest Aerospace, builder of the SJ30 light business jet. The company is targeting mid-February to complete the deal.
Emivest declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October after delivering only two of the $7.25 million jets. Previous owner Sino-Swearingen also delivered two aircraft before selling the company in 2008. During bankruptcy proceedings, Emivest said it had been in contact with "as many as 15 potential purchasers or long-term investors".
Though the company has not stated its intended buyer, a letter of support from SJ30 engine provider Williams International in December revealed the favoured party, information that Flight International has learned continues to be the case.
© Mark Donaghue
"Together with jet designer Ed Swearingen, my late father conceived and launched this project, and also invested several million dollars in its critical start-up phase," wrote Gregg Williams, chairman, president and CEO of Williams in a letter to the court in support of Emivest's sale proposal.
AVIC's general aviation arm, aka CAIGA, bought the assets of bankrupt Epic Air in April 2010 for $4 million and is in the process of purchasing the piston engine business of Teledyne for $186 million.
"As the SJ30's most patient and important supplier, I urge you to accept the CAIGA's bid for the assets of this bankrupt program," Williams writes, adding that CAIGA is capitalized at "roughly $1.5 billion and is committed to investing more than $100 million" to re-establish and improve the SJ30 production line.