Hawker Beechcraft will be sold to Superior Aviation Beijing Co. for $1.79 billion, the company announced on Monday, assuming that a final agreement is worked out over the next 45 days. The transaction will not include the Hawker Beechcraft Defense Co., which produces the T-6 trainer and is developing the AT-6 light attack aircraft. "The decision to move forward with Superior was based on two key factors," said Chairman Bill Boisture. "The bid for the company was the most attractive we received during the strategic review process and the going-forward plan offered the most continuity for our business, allowing us to preserve jobs, product lines and our ability to maintain our commitments to our customers." The company will maintain a "strong presence" in the U.S., Boisture said, retaining its current employee base and management team.
Superior Aviation Beijing intends to make Hawker Beechcraft its "flagship investment," the company said in a news release. During the 45-day review period, the companies will negotiate a "definitive agreement," which would be subject to various regulatory reviews and approval processes both in the U.S. and in China. Superior will start to make payments to Hawker over the next six weeks to "support ongoing jet-related operations" and help Hawker keep the business going until the close of the transaction. Hawker CEO Steve Miller says the agreement will give the company greater access to the Chinese business and general aviation marketplace, which is forecast to grow more than 10 percent a year for the next 10 to 15 years.