March 29, 2012
By Thomas A. Horne
Recent stories telling of new financing and debt forbearance for troubled Hawker Beechcraft Corp. appear to have been far too sanguine. In spite of recent relief in the form of $120 million in loans, the situation at Hawker Beechcraft seems to be grim indeed. Reuters and The New York Times have reported that the company is preparing to file for bankruptcy protection in the next several weeks.
Reuters said that Hawker Beechcraft’s biggest lenders, Centerbridge Partners, Angelo Gordon & Company, and Capital Research & Management, would most likely provide $500 million in debtor-in-possession financing to allow the company to continue operating while in bankruptcy, but that that figure has not been finalized and could change.
The New York Times reports that a Hawker Beechcraft bankruptcy would “put an end to a 2007 private equity deal that was troubled almost from the start.”
Private equity firms and buyout specialists Goldman Sachs Capital Partners and Onex bought Raytheon Aircraft Co. from the Raytheon Company in the boom days of 2007, and then renamed the company Hawker Beechcraft. The recession dealt a series of blows to Hawker Beechcraft in the years since, and now the company’s debt load is reportedly in the $1.4 billion range.
Officials at Hawker Beechcraft have so far been unavailable for comment.
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1970s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.
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