Sukhoi's civil aircraft division looks to restructure debt

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Sukhoi's civil aircraft division insists that "the current financial state allows it to fulfil all its commitments", even as it explores options for restructuring its debt.

The airframer has issued a statement in response to Russian media reports that the Sukhoi Superjet 100 regional airliner programme has led it into financial problems.

"The company never hid that development of the SSJ100 project is largely carried out via engaging external credits," says Sukhoi.

External creditors account for 60% of the project's financing, it adds.

Acknowledging that its civil aircraft division's debts "surpass $2 billion", the Russian manufacturer insists that "credit payments and commitments' fulfilment are on schedule and comply with current financial development strategy in full".

In 2012, a $1 billion line of credit was opened for the Superjet 100 programme by Vnesheconombank (VEB). Now, a "package of measures being currently developed will allow the project to achieve planned performance levels", says Sukhoi.

Orders for the regional jet stand at 179. Five were built in 2011, and 12 last year. A further 10 have been manufactured so far in 2013. The target for the year is 26, and 40 are to roll off the production line next year.

Analysis of debt-restructuring options is being conducted with Sukhoi parent United Aircraft. Among the "programme support options" under discussion are sales financing support and "direct support" aimed at boosting liquidity and increasing ownership capital.

Programme break-even is targeted for 2015, when total revenue is to be in excess of $1.5 billion. Revenue should hit $2 billion by 2018.

Sukhoi expects that after a divisional operating surplus this year, net cash flow will turn positive from 2015. That, it adds, will make the division "financially stable".