Eclipse Aviation announced on Monday that Luxembourg-based European Technology and Investment Research Center, headed by former computer magnate Roel Pieper, is looking at building its very light jets in Ulyanovsk, Russia after buying a stake in Eclipse worth "substantially in excess of $100 million." The cash injection buys Pieper the title of non-executive chairman of Eclipse and gives his company rights to sell the mini-jet in 60 countries, including Western Europe and Britain. Vern Raburn, who remains president and CEO, said the deal expands Eclipse's horizons more quickly. "Entrusting the expanded region of Europe to ETIRC in this manner represents a significant acceleration of our business plan," said Raburn. "Expanding our relationship with ETIRC will rapidly increase the impact of the Eclipse 500 in this region and position us to meet the needs of our growing number of customers outside of North America."
The announcement came as a variety of blog sites and forums were predicting the demise of the company, which last month secured more than $30 million in financing from existing customers by guaranteeing them lower prices for their aircraft in exchange for increased deposits. There was no announcement in the news release on the progress of certification items like flight into known icing, the lack of which is restricting operations of the approximately 100 Eclipses now in service.