Layoffs continue at Hawker Beechcraft even as negotiations progress with a China businessman on the sale of the company for $1.79 billion. The publication Arkansasbusiness.com reports 170 workers out of 450 at the Little Rock, Ark., plant have received notices that they could be laid off in 60 days.
The notice affects both hourly and non-hourly employees, the publication reported.
Before a federal bankruptcy court approved current exclusive negotiations between Superior Aviation Beijing and Hawker Beechcraft, the two parties estimated it would take far less than the 45 days allotted. You can follow all the court action filings online. An initial payment of $25 million under the exclusive bargaining agreement has been paid, with an equal payment due 30 days after the first one. The payments are used to keep open those jet production lines that Hawker Beechcraft would otherwise close down immediately, and are refundable. They include the Premiere, the single-pilot Hawker 200 recently touted last fall with a mockup display at the National Business Aviation Association convention, and possibly the Hawker 4000. (Analyst Richard Aboulafia says the Hawker 4000 is “dead anyway” no matter what the outcome of current negotiations.)
Competing bidders, some of them such as Textron that are interested only in certain Hawker Beechcraft assets, feel it is not yet a done deal with Superior Aviation Beijing. They have indicated Superior Aviation is only a stalking horse, a term also found in court documents, and therefore bidding is still open. A public auction following negotiations is part of the routine process for handling bankruptcy cases such as this. However, those same parties, especially Textron, feel the $1.79 billion is too high a price and are concerned that assets broken out might also be overpriced. Aboulafia has questioned whether Superior Aviation officials can even raise the money, despite assertions that banks in China are ready and willing to complete the deal.