Cirrus Courting Investors

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Cirrus CEO Brent Wouters confirmed that a delegation of potential investors from China visited the company's Duluth facilities last week but he said it's not the first and probably won't be the last time the company has hosted foreign capitalists. "We have been very open that we are looking for capital," Wouters told AVweb. "We should expect more people to come here of different ethnicities." Wouters declined to say who the Chinese delegation represented but he also downplayed the significance of the visit, which occurred about two months after rumors swirled that the company was going to be sold to a Chinese company. "Everyone thinks the Chinese are going to buy everything," Wouters mused. He said there are many other countries with solid financials that are looking to buy their way into high-technology manufacturing and Cirrus is actively courting anyone who comes calling. He said South America, in particular Brazil and Chile, are especially promising prospects.

The slow economy has forced curtailments at Cirrus, whose major investor is a Bahrainian-backed venture capital company called Arcapita. Wouters has said Cirrus is holding its own in the tough economy but needs outside capital for development projects, including the SF50 jet. He said the continued interest in Cirrus by outside capitalists is good news. "All I'm trying to tell you is that this is a very good thing for jet position holders and Cirrus customers," Wouters said. He said there have been productive discussions with multiple interested parties but no deals are imminent. "We're not on the verge of something quick."