US aerospace parts supplier Fairchild and its subsidiary Banner Aerospace are bidding to acquire debt-laden Czech aircraft manufacturer Aero Vodochody.
As part of the Aero Kilcullen consortium, together with investment management firms Republic Financial and Kilcullen Kapital Partners, Fairchild hopes to lead a financial restructuring, secure existing contracts and trade parts in addition to developing aerospace manufacturing projects including joint venture Ibis Aerospace’s Ae270 single-turboprop utility aircraft.
One of the main assets that potential buyers of Aero are interested in is its airfield, located just outside Prague, and Aero Kilcullen is considering developing this into an airport and technology park including a flight training school.
The Czech Consolidation Agency (CKA) has recommended that six participants proceed to the second tender round, including Aero Kilcullen, Benson, Cesky letecky prumysl, Oakfield, Eco-Investment and the Czech and Slovak investment consortium PPF & J&T, following the Czech government’s offer of an almost 100% stake in the business, which has debts of €353 million ($420 million).
Italy’s Piaggio declined to submit a business plan for Aero Vodochody, according to the CKA. Eco-Investment, part of Slovakia’s Eco-Invest, is understood to want to focus on maintaining production and possibly establishing a Czech Airlines service centre.
Aero’s portfolio includes manufacturing subassemblies for EADS/Airbus, Sikorsky S-76 helicopter airframe manufacture and co-development with Taiwan’s AIDC of the Ibis Ae270. The L-159 light attack aircraft is no longer in production although marketing continues. The Ae270 finally gained European Aviation Safety Agency certification late last year.
Republic Financial says: “While still in its early stages, Aero has a number of aerospace-related assets that are attractive to us, including the aerostructures division.” Shortlisted bidders will be asked to submit binding bids by 21 April.
AIMEE TURNER / LONDON
Source: Flight International