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AVIC tops list of Emivest buyers

The general aviation arm of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) has emerged as the front runner in the bidding war to purchase the assets of Texas-based Emivest Aerospace, builder of the SJ30 light business jet. The company is targeting mid-February to complete the deal.

Emivest declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October after delivering only two of the $7.25 million jets. Previous owner Sino-Swearingen also delivered two aircraft before selling the company in 2008. During bankruptcy proceedings, Emivest said it had been in contact with "as many as 15 potential purchasers or long-term investors".

Though the company has not stated its intended buyer, a letter of support from SJ30 engine provider Williams International in December revealed the favoured party, information that Flight International has learned continues to be the case.

Emivest SJ30 Mark Donaghue
 © Mark Donaghue

"Together with jet designer Ed Swearingen, my late father conceived and launched this project, and also invested several million dollars in its critical start-up phase," wrote Gregg Williams, chairman, president and CEO of Williams in a letter to the court in support of Emivest's sale proposal.

AVIC's general aviation arm, aka CAIGA, bought the assets of bankrupt Epic Air in April 2010 for $4 million and is in the process of purchasing the piston engine business of Teledyne for $186 million.

"As the SJ30's most patient and important supplier, I urge you to accept the CAIGA's bid for the assets of this bankrupt program," Williams writes, adding that CAIGA is capitalized at "roughly $1.5 billion and is committed to investing more than $100 million" to re-establish and improve the SJ30 production line.

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