Cirrus restructured more than $13 million worth of loan and lease obligations related to its Grand Forks, N.D. production facility with that city’s growth fund. Cirrus employs approximately 90 people in Grand Forks who make composite component parts for its SR piston aircraft that are then shipped to the company’s assembly line in Duluth, Minn. Since 1996, Grand Forks has issued various bonds and loans in support of these activities, including construction of more than 160,000 sq ft of facilities.
Cirrus Aircraft reached a milestone late last week when newly appointed CEO Dale Klapmeier delivered the 5,000th SR-series airplane, an event staged at AOPA Aviation Summit in Hartford, Conn. Cirrus has also just completed a new business plan for its SF-50 Vision Jet program at the request of China Aviation Industry General Aircraft (Caiga), which acquired the Minnesota-based airframer in late June.
Cirrus chairman Dale Klapmeier said his company’s recent majority acquisition by China’s state-owned Avic will provide the necessary capital to restart the moribund SF50 single-engine jet program. He said the company needs time to re-ramp and re-staff the effort and that a new timetable for the jet is at least three to four months out.
Yesterday at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., Cirrus co-founder Dale Klapmeier said the company’s recent majority acquisition by China’s state-owned Avic will provide the necessary capital to restart the moribund SF50 single-engine jet program. He said the company needs time to re-ramp and re-staff the effort and that a new timetable for the jet is at least four to five months out.
China Aviation Industry General Aircraft (Caiga) of Zhuhai, China, completed its acquisition of Duluth, Minn.-based Cirrus Aircraft today. Sellers include private-equity firm Arcapita, which owned 60 percent of Cirrus, and minority shareholders (including former Cirrus chairman and co-founder Alan Klapmeier).
Cirrus Counter-offer Put on Hold
Convinced that he can round up enough U.S. investors to keep Cirrus Aircraft on American soil, consultant Brian Foley is organizing a counter-offer in a bid to trump China’s plan to buy the Duluth, Minn.-based light aircraft builder from majority owner Arcapita (58 percent) and the several hundred individual shareholders who currently own the company.
Cirrus Aircraft’s SF50 Vision single-engine jet program is “making good progress,” according to president and CEO Brent Wouters, who added that the company has spent $64 million so far on the program and will need to spend another $64 million to see the aircraft through certification. The order book as of early June stood at 431 aircraft, 106 of which were written in the first half of the year.
Cirrus Design filed a lawsuit against L-3 Avionics Systems aimed at stopping the spread of scuttlebutt that Cirrus is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. L-3 Avionics sued Cirrus for $21.7 million last year after a deal for cockpit systems fell apart. Cirrus’ suit against L-3 alleges that the Grand Rapids, Mich.