Raytheon Mulls Sale of Biz Diviz

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Exploration of "strategic alternatives" could mean big changes afoot for Raytheon Aircraft Companyís (RAC) business aircraft division. The company, which plans to focus entirely on military contracts, said last week that strategic alternatives for the business division could include a "sale of the business, an initial public offering or spin-off to shareholders or some combination thereof." In other words, they would like it gone, theyíre just not sure when it might happen. The chairman of a private investment bank told The Wichita Eagle he would be surprised if the company chose to sell the division to an aircraft competitor. He is betting instead on a heretofore-unknown private equity buyer with billions to invest.

This isnít the first time Raytheon, the nationís fifth-largest defense contractor, has tried to sell Raytheon Aircraft. The timing may be better now, with good GA delivery numbers. RAC is also doing well, delivering 99 planes in the second quarter of this year compared to 87 for the same period one year ago. Interestingly, talk of a sale isnít stopping RAC from looking at offering a new or derivative business jet. The company could make an announcement later in the year on a plane that would "serve the market segment between the Hawker 400XP and the Hawker 850XP." The proposed sale does not include the Flight Options fractional ownership program or the companyís commuter service, Raytheon Airline Aviation Services.