Extra Tries To Salvage Montrose Deal

 - October 12, 2010, 12:37 PM

Tomorrow night the Montrose County (Colo.) Commission will consider a revised incentive package aimed at luring Extra Aircraft to build an assembly plant there for its all-composite EA-500 turboprop single. The original deal involved a land transfer that required the county to pay Extra $2.2 million for donated land and provide other incentives, essentially capitalizing a large share of the company’s site start-up costs. The plan drew criticism from commissioners, as well as in a due-diligence report prepared for the county by the Boyd Group. Citing Extra’s failure to obtain a substantial line of commercial credit or new investors, and questioning its assumption of selling 40 aircraft per year in five years, Boyd warned, “There is high risk for Montrose County in this proposed transaction.” Extra president Ken Keith disputes Boyd’s findings, asserting that the consultancy has a lack of expertise in evaluating general aviation manufacturers and did not understand accounting practices. He said that assembling the EA-500 in the U.S., rather than at its plant in Germany, was critical to its profitability. Building the airplane in Germany would add almost 25 percent to the cost of the $1.65 million aircraft, Keith said. According to reports, Extra currently has orders for five EA-500s.