French manufacturer aims for "prudent" production target of 25 to 30 aircraft a year

Apex Aircraft will emerge from receivership on 1 July after a French bankruptcy court accepted its reorganisation plan. The company then has 10 years to pay off its debts and return to profitability.

The manufacturer of Cap and Robin light aircraft aims to make between 25 to 30 aircraft a year, instead of the 60 aircraft it produced annually until 2001, although chairman Guy Pellissier says: "These are very low, prudent figures and we hope to produce many more."

By 31 August, Apex Aircraft will have delivered 23 aircraft since entering receivership last September. Investments to install a diesel engine in Robin aircraft and to get US certification for the Cap 10C and the Robin DR500 will be continued.

Production policies are being introduced to "manufacture as and when we receive orders and organise our purchasing, stocks and so on around client orders," Pellissier says. The company will earn 40% of its 2002-3 income from new aircraft sales, the rest coming from maintenance and spares. But Pellissier hopes to return to 70% income from new aircraft and 30% from maintenance "as soon as possible".

Pellissier says Apex is "counting on the US market" to achieve this goal, despite the poor state of political relations between France and the USA. "I don't get the feeling there is a link between technology and politics," he says.

Apex Parts, Apex Maintenance and Apex Aircraft will be merged into one company by September. Although the workforce has dropped from 200 to 100 in the past 18 months, "we have been careful to ensure that all our in-house know-how has been maintained to be able to increase production rate", Pellissier says.

Source: Flight International