Etirc Insolvency Signals End of Eclipse Europe Era

 - April 23, 2009, 12:55 PM

Roel Pieper’s European Technology and Investment Research Center (Etirc) has filed for bankruptcy, ending Etirc Aviation’s once-lofty plans to distribute Eclipse 500s in Europe and Russia and build an Eclipse assembly plant in Russia. Etirc announced plans to become an Eclipse distributor and help companies operate air-taxi networks two years ago. Last year, Etirc founder Roel Pieper deepened his relationship with Eclipse, investing $150 million in the very light jet manufacturer and joining the board of directors as chairman. Last July Pieper became acting CEO after founder Vern Raburn was forced to leave Eclipse. Pieper made an effort to buy Eclipse after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last November, but that effort failed and Eclipse was placed into Chapter 7 (liquidation) bankruptcy on February 24. Since then various entities have launched efforts to buy Eclipse’s assets, one of which includes Pieper on its board. As part of the insolvency process, Etirc’s assets will be sold to pay taxes and creditors.