Metalcraft, not China, takes SJ30

Washington DC
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A company linked to Utah-based parts manufacturer Metalcraft Technologies has purchased the assets of bankrupt Emivest Aerospace, builder of the SJ30 twinjet, for $5.19 million.

A 7 April court decision calls for the bidder, Metalcraft, to pay $3.5 million in cash for the assets, which includes manufacturing equipment and facilities in West Virginia and Texas, and $1.69 million in assumed liabilities "relating to SJ30 aircraft serial number 12". Court papers show that it has 120 days to get the equipment out of the two facilities. Metalcraft was a metal parts provider for the SJ30 programme.

The decision closes a turbulent chapter in the short life of the SJ30, which was certificated in 2005 by Sino-Swearingen, a company with Taiwanese government backing.

Dubai-based Emivest Aerospace bought the majority stake in the company in 2008. The apparent backlog for the $7.25 million Williams International-powered twinjet at the time was more than 300 orders, though only four aircraft have been built and delivered to date, two by Sino-Swearingen and two by Emivest before it declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October 2010.

A potential deal to sell the company to China Aviation Industry General Aircraft (CAIGA), which engine provider Williams had said was "committed to investing more than $100 million" to re-establish and improve the SJ30 production line, did not materialise.

CAIGA is awaiting government approvals on its offer to buy a 100% stake in Cirrus Aircraft.

Metalcraft did not return a request for details on the purchase or future plans for the company.