China-Cirrus Deal Faces Security Review

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Cirrus CEO Brent Wouters told The Wall Street Journal this week he expects the deal to sell Cirrus Aircraft to a Chinese firm will pass a national-security review by the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment. The two companies sought the review as a pre-emptive move, to avoid becoming "a political football," Wouters told the WSJ. Wouters said he expects the deal will be approved because Cirrus isn't a high-tech firm with national security-sensitive trade secrets. AVIC, the state-owned parent company of China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co., has come under scrutiny in the past for bidding on U.S. defense contracts, the WSJ said. Besides its general aviation interests, AVIC also manufactures a stealth jet fighter.

The sale of the company, which is based in Duluth, Minn., was announced last week. Terms were not disclosed. In a news release, Wouters said the deal would be a shot in the arm for the company and for its employees in Duluth and Grand Forks, N.D. "CAIGA understands the strength and the talent of Cirrus's workforce and the prominence of the Cirrus brand in general aviation," Wouters said. "Through this transaction, CAIGA will invest in our employees in both Minnesota and North Dakota by committing to the continued use of our world-class production facilities." The deal also is subject to various approvals from the Chinese government, Cirrus said, and is not expected to be finalized until sometime this summer.