Development Specialists Inc. (DSI), which has been retained to wind down operations at Aerion through a liquidation process under Florida statutes, hopes to finalize sales of the former supersonic aircraft designer’s assets by year-end. Unclear, however, is how much those assets will fetch since the majority of what is available to sell is intellectual property, said Joseph Luzinski, the assignee and a senior managing director of DSI.
Aerion, which had been designing the supersonic AS2 business jet, has about $100 million in outstanding claims. GE Aviation—which would have produced the Affinity engine for the AS2—accounted for nearly $32 million of that. But Aerion has claims from a range of aerospace companies—Spirit AeroSystems, which tightened its partnership with Aerion a year ago, is owed an estimated $4.9 million and Boeing more than $3.5 million, according to court documents.
While Aerion does have some fixed assets to sell such as computers, software, and wind tunnel models, there are no real estate assets as it was early in the development work to build its headquarters complex in Melbourne, Florida. But numerous patents are available. “There are no valuations for these types of assets there’s no Kelley Blue Book or comps. There is no clear indication of what the assets are worth,” Luzinski said, adding the market will determine that.
Parties have already reached out as the news of the liquidation has spread, he said, noting he’s received a call from private equity interests as well as a “large jet manufacturer.” DSI also has a list of aerospace and other companies that might have an interest, he said. “Hopefully this will generate a spirited sale process that will generate value,” he said.