Andrzej Jeziorski/PRAGUE

ANOTHER PIECE of the Czech aerospace industry's restructuring appear to have unraveled, with the collapse of joint-venture discussions between Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) and Czech engine manufacturer Walter.

It is believed that the deal finally fell through because P&WC was unwilling to take on debts of as much as CKr1 billion ($36 million) run up by Walter when it was still under the Motorlet name.

Fears also existed in the Czech industry that P&WC would seek to close engine programmes such as the M602 turboprop, which is in competition with its own PT6A.

The apparent break down of the PW&C talks marks another twist in the long-running and often complex saga of Czech restructuring over the past three years.

Similar joint-venture talks between Let and Fairchild finally petered out in 1994, leaving the regional-aircraft manufacturer still in the hands of Aero, the holding company set up to oversee the re-organisation of the Czech state-owned aerospace industry.

Aero says that it is leaving the door open for any new investors, but plans to retain majority control of Let.

The holding company had also declared last year that it intended to retain a controlling stake in four other core companies: Aero Vodochody, Letov, Technometra and the VZLU aeronautical research institute. The group has been left holding a stake of only 44.5%, however, after a debt-for-equity swap with creditors.

In March, Aero announced plans to sell 66% of Walter, to private Czech entrepreneur Emilian Fould but the CKr500 million purchase money, has yet to materialise. Walter says that the complicated deal, which involves finance from an array of the country's financial institutions, should be resolved "soon". Walter is also expected to absorb VZLU's former Turbo Motor division.

Aero had stated previously that other subsidiaries were earmarked for liquidation. The Cenkovske Strojirny operation, which formerly produced seats for Russian and Ukrainian aircraft, has long been on the list, and Aero insists that the liquidation will finally go ahead in November.

Landing-gear and hydraulics company Teset, has been saved from the brink of bankruptcy and the company is now awaiting restructuring.

Source: Flight International