DAIMLER-BENZ Aerospace (DASA) has delayed release of its "Dolores" (dollar low rescue) restructuring plan until the end of the month, as senior DASA officials have further discussion with the Government about the scheme.

The plan was expected to be unveiled in mid-October. Leaks from an interim report suggest that up to 15,000 job could be lost at DASA. The company suffered catastrophic first-half losses of DM1.6 billion ($1.1 billion) this year, much of which was attributed to low dollar-exchange rates.

DASA came under further pressure on 11 October, when rumours that embattled Dutch aircraft-manufacturer subsidiary Fokker was seeking protection from creditors sent share prices plunging by 22%.

The shares dropped by DFl1.6 ($1) to DFl5.8, recovering to around DFl7 by the week's end after Fokker pointed out that bridging financing supplied by DASA allows it to fulfil its obligations to creditors until at least 1 January.

The Dolores plan is intended to save DASA DM979 million a year, allowing it to reach a profit target of DM1.1 billion in 1998, even with the dollar rate as low as DM1.35. It also intends to impose annual savings of DM272 million on Fokker.

Fokker chief Ben van Schaik says that the company's survival depends on the Dutch Government agreeing to an aid package reportedly amounting to DFl2 billion.

"The matter is really quite simple: if the Government wants to leave this branch of industry to the free market, it will die," he says. For now, the Government is standing by a condition that any support it gives must be matched by equal amounts from DASA.

Source: Flight International