Sunday, May 13, 2012

EBACE: Goldman Sachs, Onex to sell off Hawker Beechcraft

EBACE: Goldman Sachs, Onex to sell off Hawker Beechcraft:
HBC Baron.jpeg
A Beechcraft Baron sits on the static display outside the PalExpo convention center in Geneva./Billypix

GENEVA, Switzerland -- Hawker Beechcraft has clarified that GS Capital Partners, a Goldman Sachs company, and Toronto-based Onex Capital Partners are selling their equity ownership stakes as part of a restructuring under Chapter 11.

That means Hawker Beechcraft's employees face their third ownership change in less than six years when the heavily leveraged airframer emerges from bankruptcy protection in several months.

But the new owners are not yet identified. Shawn Vick, Hawker Beechcraft executive vice president, says the new owners are the several undisclosed creditors holding $2.5 billion in the company's debt. As part of Hawker Beechcraft's "massive deleveraging" manoeuvre, as Vick describes, the creditors will exchange their debt for equity, and assume control of the company. Vick says no suppliers are part of the new ownership team, but instead a mix of financial institutions.

The news that Goldman Sachs and Onex are exiting Hawker Beechcraft after a five-year tenure as joint owners over-shadowed all other news on the eve of EBACE, including the arrival of one of the first -- and still uncertificated -- green Gulfstream G650s. 

Hawker Beechcraft was known for almost three decades as Raytheon Aircraft Company. But Raytheon disposed of the struggling unit on 26 March 2007, which was then renamed Hawker Beechcraft Inc. under Goldman Sachs and Onex ownership. 

Only 18 months later, the business jet market collapsed during the global economic recession that began late in the third quarter of 2008. While sales of large cabin jets have mostly recovered, the mid-size and light categories that are Hawker Beechcraft's strengths are still slumping nearly four years later. 

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