Thielert: Profitable, Seeking Investors

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Thielert Aircraft Engines GmbH says it has returned to profitability, improved its engines and is now seeking investors to continue its revival. "It is a very good time to start seeking a new investor," said Bruno M. Kubler, the government-appointed bankruptcy administrator who took over Thielert in 2008 when the company went under due to financial mismanagement and, in part, deteriorating aircraft market conditions. But now, says Kubler, the market is improving "and the big players are starting to invest again in order to take part in this upswing." Kubler was evidently referring to world credit markets, not aircraft sales, which continue in the doldrums worldwide. Thielert, by the way, has a separate marketing arm called Centurion and this company and name has become the brand nameplate of the engines. But we're told that Thielert GmBh continues to operate under its original name.

After its initial reorganization in 2008, Thielert's attempt to find investors yielded no results because of the global financial crisis. Further, the company's sales dipped as Diamond Aircraft, the principle civil buyer of its engines, turned to its own engine supplier, Austro, to provide engines for the popular DA42 light twin. Thielert has a significant military market in supplying engine for UAVs, but it's not known if this is sufficient to sustain the business.

As of last September, said Thielert, 3000 of its engines were operating worldwide, making it the most successful aircraft diesel in history. The lifetime of the Centurion 2.0 engine was recently increased to 1500 hours and clutch and gearbox lifespans were extended to 600 hours. Although the gearbox and clutch lifespans still fall short of what Thielert promised two years after the engine was introduced, the company now claims net operating costs and efficiency are better than ever.