China to acquire world’s largest piston aircraft maker

Washington DC
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This story is sourced from Flight International
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Cirrus Industries, Inc., has agreed to be acquired by China's state-owned general aviation manufacturer in a major shakeup of the industry sector.

The acquisition, if approved by US authorities, would unite the China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co (CAIGA) with the Minnesota-based Cirrus, which last year delivered more piston-powered aircraft than any other manufacturer, according to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA).

With the SF-50 Vision jet aimed for delivery in 2013, the proposed acquisition by CAIGA will allow Cirrus to "expedite our aircraft development programmes," says Brent Wouters, Cirrus's president and chief executive.

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Wouters also signalled that the Cirrus brand and manufacturing presence would be preserved, or even enhanced, with Chinese ownership.

"CAIGA understands the strength and the talent of Cirrus's workforce and the prominence of the Cirrus brand in general aviation," he says in a statement.

Acquiring Cirrus is a major step for CAIGA, which has already bought the assets of Epic Air and is acquiring the piston engine business of Teledyne for $186 million. CAIGA also is leading a bidding war to buy Emivest Aerospace, which builds the SJ30 light business jet in Texas.

"Light piston aircraft is one of CAIGA's business focuses," says Meng Xiangkai, CAIGA's president.

Cirrus topped GAMA's list for worldwide deliveries for piston-powered aircraft last year with 264, but CAIGA hopes to boost those numbers, Xiangkai says.

The transaction must be reviewed by the committee on foreign investment in the US (CFIUS) and the Department of Justice under the Hart-Scott-Rodino antitrust improvements act, as well as approved by the Chinese government.