Graham Warwick/ORLANDO

FAIRCHILD AIRCRAFT has reached agreement with Daimler-Benz Aerospace (DASA) on the acquisition of Dornier Luftfahrt. Fairchild chairman Carl Albert says that the deal will close in June. DASA confirms that an agreement is "ready for signing", and says that a final decision will be taken at the Dornier shareholders' meeting on 5 June.

Albert says that financial arrangements for the acquisition are in place, adding that Fairchild has been profitable in the five years since he bought the company and that the acquisition debt was fully repaid in 1995. "Fairchild is small, but financially healthy. We have a good track record and an unleveraged balance sheet," he says.

Plans call for production of the 30-seat Dornier 328 regional turboprop to remain in Germany. "We hope to leave production there, but it depends on our success in reducing costs," Albert cautions. He intends to launch the 50-seat, high-speed, 328EC soon after the acquisition, and to accelerate development. "We need to shorten the Dornier schedule [of 3.5 years for the 328EC]," he says.

DASA will retain a minority stake in Dornier. The German company says that it has received no formal objections from the Dornier family to the sale, despite Martine Dornier-Tiefenthaler's insistence that it will block the deal. "We will have to wait and see what happens at the shareholders' meeting," says DASA. The family owns 47% of Dornier, but has reduced voting rights.

The family believes that a sale to Fairchild would violate the contract signed when Daimler-Benz took over Dornier, and claims that it has the right to veto the sale of any part of the Dornier group. DASA points out that the Dorniers voiced similar objections to the sale of medical division Dornier Medizintechnik, but failed to veto the sale.

Source: Flight International