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Dornier Seastar expects to find Asian backing

DORNIER SEASTAR of Germany is confident of soon finding new partners in Asia to back production of its Seastar CD-2 amphibious aircraft, after a key Malaysian investor pulled out of the joint-venture programme.

"We're actively looking for new backers, and have already had inquiries from both inside and outside Malaysia," claims Dornier Seastar chairman Conrado Dornier.

The search for new partners follows the refusal of Aerospace Industries of Malaysia (AIM) to inject any further capital into the Dornier Seastar (Malaysia) consortium, again throwing the aircraft's future into doubt (Flight International, 19-25 July, P20).

Two other non-aerospace Malaysian investors, Realmild and Koperasi Polis, are understood to remain committed to the project, providing that a new partner can be found to replace AIM. "They don't feel easy without an aviation company in the lead," says a local industry source.

The German designer is still keen to manufacture the 14-seat amphibian in Malaysia, but is willing to move the programme to another country. "We're not prepared to wait any longer," says Dornier. "It has to be decided now and put in place."

Claims published in Malaysia that up to a further 250 million ringgits ($100 million) was needed over the initial capital and borrowings of 280 million ringgits to complete aircraft design and development have been dismissed by Seastar supporters as "highly inaccurate".

It says that the claims are intended to bring into question the programme's financial viability.

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