Reactions have been mixed in the wake of yesterday’s announcement that Superior Aviation of Beijing, China, has agreed to acquire financially troubled Hawker Beechcraft, minus Hawker Beechcraft Defense Co. (HBDC) for $1.79 billion. “I have no idea why Hawker Beechcraft would be worth $1.8 billion without its defense side,” Teal Group vice president of aerospace analysis Richard Aboulafia told AIN. “Given the money needed to reorganize, that’s a very high price.”
Zenith Jet vice president George Tspoeis expressed similar sentiments: “The price is too high, especially without the T/AT-6 line. I believe that the Chinese will whittle the price down immensely to the point where the deal won’t make any sense to Hawker Beechcraft. If HBC accepts the offer, it will be at a significantly lower price than $1.79 billion.”
Meanwhile, business aviation analyst Brian Foley accentuated the positives of the deal, saying, “This is a very good deal for Hawker and its creditors.” He added, “Back in the day, the industry felt General Dynamics overpaid for Gulfstream, which was not the case. Perhaps the long-term strategic vision of Superior is equally compelling.”
“This is not yet a sale,” Kansas governor Sam Brownback (R) stressed in an interview with AIN today at the Farnborough Airshow. “This is a significant step, but there are several other big steps to follow.” Brownback is most concerned about keeping Hawker Beechcraft jobs in Kansas, saying he’ll press Superior to uphold its promise to maintain the Wichita-based OEM’s existing operations.