Hawker Beechcraft says talks with Chinese suitor fail

(Reuters) - Aircraft maker Hawker Beechcraft Inc HKBCH.UL said it intends to emerge from bankruptcy as a standalone company after talks to sell itself to China's Superior Aviation Beijing Co failed, and may close its entire jet business if it doesn't get a strong bid.

A pilot stands by his plane, a Hawker Beechcraft T-6C Texan II, during the second day of the Dubai Airshow November 14, 2011. REUTERS/Nikhil Monteiro

The Wichita, Kansas maker of business jets, general aviation turboprops and military aircraft, owned by Goldman Sachs Group Inc GS.N and Onex Corp OCX.TO, filed for bankruptcy protection in May, unable to support a $2.5 billion debt load.

Hawker said in July that it was in exclusive talks with the little-known Chinese firm over the sale of the company for $1.79 billion.

It said on Thursday it could not agree on terms with Superior, a 60-40 joint venture between privately owned Beijing Superior Aviation Technology Co and government-backed Beijing E-Tong International Investment & Development Co.

“We are disappointed that the transaction did not come to fruition, but we protected ourselves by obtaining a $50 million deposit from Superior that is now fully non-refundable and property of the company,” Hawker CEO Robert Miller said.

The company that would emerge from bankruptcy in the first quarter of 2013, to be named Beechcraft Corp, will focus on turboprop, piston, special mission and trainer/attack aircraft, Hawker said.

Hawker said it was evaluating strategic options with creditors for its Hawker product line, which includes the struggling business jet division. The business will be closed if there are no satisfactory bids, the company said.

Under the proposed deal with Superior, Hawker’s politically sensitive defense business would have remained a separate entity that analysts said would probably be sold to a U.S. buyer.

Hawker, which will file an amended reorganization plan, said general unsecured claims will be canceled and holders will receive equity in the reorganized company. Under the new plan, the company will receive a new loan and will be able to repay its $400 million in debtor-in-possession financing.

The new reorganization plan, which is subject to approval from the bankruptcy court, has the support of major creditors, Hawker said. A hearing is expected on November 15, it said.

Goldman Sachs's private equity unit and Canada's Onex, bought Raytheon Aircraft Co from Raytheon Co RTN.N for $3.3 billion at the height of the buyout boom in early 2007 and renamed it Hawker Beechcraft.

The company, loaded down with debt from the buyout, went into a tailspin after 2008 financial crisis and subsequent economic downturn.

The case is In re: Hawker Beechcraft Inc, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No:12-11873.

Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi and Tanya Agrawal in Bangalore; Editing by Don Sebastian and Ted Kerr