Grob Insolvent after Lender Balks at More SPn Delays

 - August 19, 2008, 11:09 AM

Grob Aerospace yesterday filed for insolvency in Germany after its main source of capital suddenly withdrew financial support for the new SPn light business jet program. Grob CEO Niall Olver said the undisclosed "loan provider" had pulled out due to further delays in the SPn certification program and resulting increases in the amount of money required to get the aircraft into service. Grob is now urgently evaluating alternative means of financing the program. On August 7, Grob’s fourth SPn joined the flight-test fleet. Until the latest news of further delays in the program, the SPn had been expected to be certified in the fourth quarter, but this now appears to be in doubt. The insolvency relates purely to Grob’s German subsidiary, which employs around 500 people (including 380 permanent staff) at its Tussenhausen-Mattsies factory. The Zurich-based Swiss Grob AG holding company is still solvent, as is its new U.S. subsidiary in Portsmouth, N.H. Grob AG is currently developing a completions and delivery center for the SPn at St. Gallen-Altenrhein Airport in Switzerland. Bombardier expects Grob to continue its role as composite structures partner for the Learjet 85 program. “Business is proceeding as usual, and under the protection of German [bankruptcy] laws Grob will continue operations for the Learjet 85,” a Bombardier spokesman told AIN.