Raytheon Sells Flight Options

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Raytheon last Thursday reported the sale of Flight Options along with its quarterly earnings. Miami-based H.I.G. Capital, a private equity firm, currently holding several aviation interests, is the buyer. The purchase price wasn't available last week but analysts expect the deal should close by the end of the year. H.I.G. managing director, Doug Berman, put the company's motives in perspective telling the Miami Herald, "The private aviation industry is growing at two to three times the rate of the overall economy." H.I.G. would acquire through the purchase some 130 luxury aircraft and operations based out of Cleveland. Flight Options provides fractional ownership programs and a pre-paid card plan and is adding whole aircraft management services. But its "strong underlying fundamentals" -- going from 13 types flown to four, plus investments in customer service programs, plus a push toward programs that would allow on-demand charter service -- made the purchase especially attractive to H.I.G. Following what it describes as steady improvements in Flight Options, Raytheon found this quarter "the right time to divest of it." A Raytheon spokesman said the company will now focus on its core business of defense and government business.