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Fokker submits its bail-out plan to Dutch Government

Andrzej Jeziorski/MUNICH

FOKKER HAS delivered a stark warning to the Dutch Government that the company will be left facing a crisis unless the state shareholder approves a major injection of cash.

The warning came as Fokker handed over a new business plan to Dutch economics minister Hans Wijers on 6 September. It is designed to convince the Government to join in a financial restructuring which analysts believe could involve new funding of up to DFl2 billion ($1.2 billion).

Fokker's controlling shareholder, Daimler-Benz Aerospace (DASA), has indicated that it is prepared to participate in the restructuring, provided that it is joined by the Dutch Government, which still retains a minority holding in the aircraft builder.

"If the Government does nothing, the threat of closure is getting very big. DASA cannot close the gap alone," warns Fokker in a statement apparently designed to pressure the Government into considering the plan.

While the Government has said that it would not let Fokker collapse, Wijers has made it clear that funding depends on the company producing a convincing business plan.

The Dutch Government is also insisting, that DASA demonstrates concrete progress, towards European cooperation on a regional-jet programme.

Talks between the two major shareholders are due to start shortly and, although no deadline has been set, an agreement is expected before the end of the year. "For us, it's the sooner the better," says Fokker.

The extent of the problems at Fokker came to light in August when the company unveiled an unprecedented loss of DFl651 million for the first half of the year.

The manufacturer has also been left carrying heavy debts from its aircraft financing during the recession. Fokker has a portfolio of aircraft worth around DFl1.3 billion, although there is an agreement in place for at least part of this to be taken over by Daimler-Benz' financing arm Debis.

Signs of market recovery are in prospect, says Fokker. This year, orders have been taken for 33 regional jets and 13 Fokker 50 turboprops, against a total of 50 orders for the whole of 1994. Production of regional jets, which slumped to 33 in 1994, is also on course to recover to 42 in 1995.

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