By Helen Massy-Beresford in London

Aerospace subcontractor Reims Aerospace is set for a takeover by its 240 employees as part of a scheme to help it out of current financial difficulties. 

President Gérard Russo says he hopes the €3 million ($3.8 million) plan for employees to take control of the business by forming a Société Cooperative de Production (Scop) will be completed by the end of November. The company, which posted turnover of €18.6 million in 2005, is currently in administration.

The association of management and staff is set to present a proposal for the takeover to local authorities on 24 July, and if this is approved the process will begin officially a week later.

Discussions with French banks to agree loans to fund part of estimated €3 million cost of the plan are now underway. Employees will cover some of the cost of the venture by buying shares at €1 each from its current shareholder, Luxembourg-based private investment group Leithanien Investment. Leithanien took over Reims Aerospace as part of a restructuring plan in March 2004.

Operations at Reims Aerospace, which specialises in the design and manufacture of aerospace assemblies, and counts Airbus and Dassault among its customers, are continuing as normal, Russo says.

The plan for employees to take over the company is the only one currently being considered, Russo says. “No one wants to compete with the employees.” He adds that he has been asked by employees to continue as president of the company after the takeover.

Reims Aerospace is now separate from Reims Aviation Industrie, with the latter retaining design rights for the general aviation range of now-defunct Reims Aviation, with Reims Aerospace taking the component work.

Source: Flight International