Checking The China Acquisition Score Card

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As 2016 stumbles to the finish line, it will close with one dubious achievement: A record number of U.S. companies have been bought by foreign investors and leading the charge is China. According to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., just three years ago, Chinese interests acquired 43 companies. In 2015, the total was 103, according to the Rhodium Group, which tracks such things.

For 2016, China interests invested $40 billion by the first quarter alone, more than twice the total for all of 2015. This week's announcement that China’s Wanfeng Auto Holding Group bought a controlling share in Diamond Aircraft Industries in London, Ontario, makes us recall that the U.S. general aviation industry is dominated by Chinese holdings.

Let’s review: In 2010, China’s AVIC International bought Continental Motors for $186 million; Superior Airparts, a major PMA supplier, was bought later that same year by a Chinese technology group; Cirrus was bought by China’s Aviation Industry General Aircraft in 2011 for $210 million; a private investment consortium including the Meijing Group bought Mooney in 2013 for an undisclosed amount; the bankrupt Thielert Aircraft Engines was bought by Continental Motors and became Chinese-owned in 2013; in May of 2015, Continental scooped up Danbury Aerospace, the parent of Engine Components International, a major PMA house; in 2012, Glasair Aviation was bought by Fang Tieji, chairman of Hanxing Group Ltd.

This doesn’t count Chinese investment in U.S. aviation companies that aren’t admitting it, nor does it include the major joint ventures such as GE’s partnering with AVIC and Airbus’ manufacturing position in China. Diamond manufactures in China, too. Some deals have gotten away for security and regulatory reasons. China sniffed around Hawker Beechcraft, for example, but that deal collapsed. So, I’m sure, have lesser deals we haven’t heard about.

What’s one to think of all this? The first thought is this: The Chinese have drawn a bright line between what industries they think represent the future and what U.S. investors believe in. China’s economyis centrally planned and the last five-year plan, the 12th, emphasized infrastructure, including aviation. China’s Xi Jinping has been quoted as saying certain industries—technology, information systems, aviation, alternative energy—represent the high ground of the 21st century.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of anyone who’s saying general aviation is a high-ground industry in the U.S. It’s closer to a sunset than a green shoot. It’s different in China. Aviation at all levels there is emerging and even if it’s not growing as fast as many in the U.S. hoped it would when they developed their “China plans” a decade ago, the potential remains. Westerners working in the Chinese-acquired companies have told me the Chinese have a long view and realize that building a general aviation infrastructure will take years and billions of yuan. And if they buy it at fire sale prices from a country--that would be us-- more interested in short-term gains from credit default swaps and securitized mortgages, why wouldn’t they? To me, it’s just about that simple. I don’t have much animus for the companies that sell because I know most have tried other options to raise capital.

Even ahead of the recently concluded election, the political class has expressed some alarm at the level of Chinese investment. Once 2016’s numbers are tallied, expect to hear a sustained howl. The incoming administration has made a campaign touchpoint of both containing China and tilting toward protectionist economic and industrial policy. That means the next year four years are going to get interesting.

Recall that Cirrus shopped the company for several years before the Chinese stepped up. Western and even Middle Eastern investors were evidently looking for a bigger return than Cirrus could ever deliver. Same applies to Mooney. If the Chinese ATM hadn’t disgorged, do you think Cirrus could have completed its jet project or Mooney would have embarked on a factory remodel and the new M10 trainers? Both of those projects, I’ll point out, created jobs in the U.S., even if there’s no guarantee they’ll stay here. Also, note that Diamond says it will review its suspended D-jet program following the new investment.

We’ll now see if new U.S. economic policy can entice onshore capital to invest in industrial expansion more widely, including aviation. I’m all for limiting foreign investment in sensitive areas of the economy where it could erode key U.S. strengths and competitiveness, but if protectionist policy squeezes investment dollars, where’s the money going to come from? I doubt if the government will be investing, so that leaves commercial and private capital which, heretofore, has viewed little airplane projects as the cute money pits they often are. It’s no stretch to say Chinese investment, palatable or not, has been instrumental in keeping GA manufacturing alive in the U.S. On the commerical side, in September, Boeing said China will buy more than 6800 aircraft during the next 20 years. That's more than $1 trillion in business. 

And that leads to the full-circle portion of today’s commentary. Remember the mid-1980s when we were all freaking out because the Japanese were buying U.S. real estate? It was quite the panic. Then the bubble burst and the Japanese lost their kimonos. That’s another way of saying just because certain investors see GA as a poor risk, doesn’t mean they’re wrong. The Chinese are buying airplane companies for reasons other than handsome P&Ls. Our kids will get to see if the long game pays off, if they even care enough about airplanes by then to notice.

Comments (39)

The USA is trying to kill GA; just look at Santa Monica. Citizens are actively being prohibited from even walking up to an airport hanger because of the fences and gates and barbed wire and security. John and Martha King were handcuffed at gunpoint!
The USA is HOSTILE to GA and it's no wonder that aviation companies are poised at bankruptcy. Get used to the reality that GA is being killed from within. The Chinese are simply picking up technology at penny's on the dollar because they are not dopes like we are.

Posted by: Mark Fraser | December 20, 2016 7:28 PM    Report this comment

Great point about the furor over the Japanese buying US real estate. It appears the Chinese bailed out some domestic investors. As long as they shoot for a reasonable ROI, the Chinese won't do any damage to the remaining domestically owned players, and the competition will be good for GA consumers. It's likely that history will repeat, however, and the smart money guys will be waiting to buy these companies back at much lower valuations some time in the future.

Posted by: Robin Oldfield | December 20, 2016 7:47 PM    Report this comment

The Chinese want to build GA in their country. They could start at ground zero and take 15 to or so years to get GA going or they can go out into the market place and buy going companies. Since they are fat with cash; they are buying good aviation companies. They will keep them here for five or so years while they learn the trade. As their local expertise increases, they will begin with co manufacturing parts here and at home. Then they will phase out the expensive US operations and build entirely in China.
Have you noticed that they have bought relatively good designs? Have you noticed that they are investing in modernizing the operations and designs? Have you noticed that they have diversified? These investments are not casual nor stupid. They know that some will be less successful than others but have a broad enough portfolio to sustain their presence in the industry. Right now they are not looking at ROI, they are looking at building an industry. Perhaps they are even farsighted enough to realize that to make pilots to fly the heavy iron you need little trainers.
The question is what will happen to GA in the US? The answer to that question is difficult at best. There are some communities that value GA and others that want to eradicate it off the face of the earth. Most companies with the capital to invest have found places with better returns and less risk for their $. So the Chinese are seizing the opportunity. Is Textron and the rest of the industry betting that we will have unmanned or ground controlled large and business aircraft in the future and forsaking the lower end of the market that spawns the pilot population? I can't hazard a guess.

Posted by: Leo LeBoeuf | December 20, 2016 9:09 PM    Report this comment

Asian investment can be very good: Land Rover (owned by and Indian conglomerate) and Volvo (owned by a Chinese car maker) have both thrived from having design teams boosted and investment poured in. Profits have followed, and have not all been exported east.
It can also be very bad.
French vineyards show both, some Chinese owners have invested sums in equipment which make the eyes water, but which should improve profits five years and more down the line. Others have left perfectly good vineyards become weed-filled waste ground because they refuse to pay staff.
My guess is that the buyers of aircraft manufacturers will try their best to ensure they do not lose money on the deal, which means they will want to keep the skilled people.
It will take time to train Chinese staff and even longer to ensure the institutional memory is transferred. Plus the owners (for various reasons to do with having the Chinese communist party in absolute control of executive, legislature and judiciary), may actually prefer to keep factories in the US, Canada and Austria. So hopefully it is good news. Although one big mouth in the White House has the power to ruin it.

Posted by: John Patson | December 21, 2016 4:52 AM    Report this comment

Clyde Cessna and Walter Beech are rolling in their graves.

Posted by: Ken Keen | December 21, 2016 8:03 AM    Report this comment

While our politicians and military industrial complex have been romping all over the globe wasting tax payers money, the Chinese have been romping all over the globe making financial deals. As a free market guy, I have a feeling they will have better results.

Posted by: Hans Miesler | December 21, 2016 8:45 AM    Report this comment

Is selling out American GA to the Chinese good? Shiiiit!

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | December 21, 2016 8:49 AM    Report this comment

I don't think China envisions GA in its own country the same way we do in the west. We see it as the ultimate freedom machine that grants us an amazing level of individual liberty to come and go as we please for our own personal enjoyment. In China, the individual is de-emphasized in favor of team effort contributing to team goals; a high level of satisfaction comes from being the best or biggest contributor to the team.

Chinese GA will consist of a regional network of small aircraft flying professional missions, manned by professional pilots. The flights will be purposeful and meaningful to society as a whole. They may not be as rigidly controlled as the major airlines, but they will be tightly planned and controlled from chock to chock. Unfortunately, I believe that many in the US believe in this GA usage concept as well (if they don't already assume it exists).

Posted by: A Richie | December 21, 2016 9:02 AM    Report this comment

I welcome the new investors and, hopefully, customers for GA.

What pilot wouldn't?

Posted by: Thomas Boyle | December 21, 2016 11:35 AM    Report this comment

"Is selling out American GA to the Chinese good? Shiiiit!"

No, but is watching GA die a better plan?

Posted by: Richard Montague | December 21, 2016 12:57 PM    Report this comment

"No, but is watching GA die a better plan?"

Selling out to the Chinese isn't going to save GA, or any other American enterprise for that matter.

The golden days of small-GA flying in our country have come and gone and will never be back like they were. The truth is, it never was really all that accessible to average people anyway. Even at its peak, I think the pilot population only reached something like .2%. Yes that's POINT 2 percent, not 2 percent.

Regardless, the "average Joe" is home building their airplane now and in doing so is going back to the roots of flying, which is in fact a good thing.

Posted by: Ken Keen | December 21, 2016 1:37 PM    Report this comment

One of the biggest problems with GA in the U.S. is not a lack of innovation, but a lack of funding for new projects. American business does not see enough profit potential in GA to invest the time and money to bring new designs or ideas to market. Blame the FAA, blame the lawyers, blame big corporations; it is what it is. If Chinese companies are willing to invest in American GA companies that show potential, is that a bad thing? We all railed against the Japanese auto industry in the '80s when we were afraid they would kill the domestic Big 3. But, then the Japanese built assembly plants in this country and now Honda and Toyota are household names. Some European companies build LSA's in Europe, then ship them over here for final assembly and sale (as well as aftermarket support). It works for them. If China follows either pattern, we can all benefit.

Posted by: John McNamee | December 21, 2016 2:41 PM    Report this comment

China's military, commercial and private aviation expansion plans are suctioning America's and EU's GA manufacturing technology, tools and experience. China's overt desired result is to develop a General/Commercial/Military Aviation population. NOT to generate jobs in America.

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | December 21, 2016 11:09 PM    Report this comment

It's NOT about seeing someone else infuse our beloved GA with capital to keep it on life support so that we can buy $200 hamburgers or zip around in our bizjets. It's not about devouring whole industries with pennies on the dollar to make a profit. I see their long game as far worse. Those people can be patient ... very patient ... until they pounce.

As a Country, we are foolish to transfer control of our strategic technologies to China, bit by bit. By allowing them to buy (above or below the table), copy or -- when necessary -- pirate our industrial capabilities or control of same, we are setting ourselves up for eventual calamity of one sort or another. If they ever find a way to make the Yuan a co-equal or -- worse -- primary currency ... we are doomed to bad times. The distance between recreational and commercial aviation technology and military technology is very minimal. They can't buy Boeing but they can buy smaller companies and upscale their technology. In the US, it's always about the almighty dollar; to them, it's about getting rid of their stockpile of almighty dollars and gaining superiority in whatever area they choose.

There is a term I often still use from my military days; "EEFI" ... essential elements of friendly information. Any element of any bit of info -- by itself -- is not a secret. Taken in the aggregate, however, they amplify the bits and bobs into strategic knowledge and ultimately, capabilities.

When I worked on a major defense project, my company was buying ASIC integrated circuits from them. We had to buy extras to stockpile "just in case." And THAT was 25 years ago. Extrapolate.

RAF is right ... be careful what you ask for ... those people don't care what a light airplane costs or where it's made. Remember the story of when the Russians walked into an airplane factory with soft foam soled shoes to pick up bits of metal for subsequent metallurgical analysis.

Posted by: Larry Stencel | December 22, 2016 10:01 AM    Report this comment

Which is my point, while we blunder around like bulls in a china shop and lose sight of the big picture, the Chinese walk around the globe softly while building the big stick. Good economic practices after WW2 made the US great but we are short sighted when long term economic formulas are called for. Being nearly 20 trillion and growing in the hole, does not portend favorably for any industry, aviation or otherwise.

Posted by: Hans Miesler | December 22, 2016 12:04 PM    Report this comment

Globalism is not panning out to be the panacea it was thought it was going to be.
Globalism is self serving. I have yet to see any long term benefit to the U.S. through a Chinese acquisition or any acquisition outside the U.S. for that matter. What usually starts out as a short term benefit (think cheap) usually always ends up as a permanent loss to the U.S. (jobs, national pride, identity). Selling to the Chinese anything is like selling your soul. It may feel good and look good in the short term, however, you will pay the price in the end. There will be a hangover that won't go away.

Posted by: Thomas Cooke | December 23, 2016 3:02 AM    Report this comment

Paul, saying that "Both of those projects, I'll point out, created jobs in the U.S., even if there's no guarantee they'll stay here. " is like saying that "9/11" created jobs in the U.S. and viewing it as a benefit. It just ain't right!

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | December 23, 2016 9:09 AM    Report this comment

Globalism is a nice whipping boy, but it's not going away. Face the facts: We (Americans) are outnumbered 23 to 1 on this globe, and a majority of those other 23 are all too happy to do your job for less if given the chance. The simplistic answer, protectionism, has a track record that conclusively demonstrates it falls into that category of solutions that are "simple, easy & wrong".

America had a good 'launch' period, filling an open land that offered abundant resources and protected by geography & circumstance from outside aggression. WWII put the whipped cream on the sundae by leaving us as the unquestioned superpower, but time doesn't stop. We've coasted through the last half of the 20th century on that momentum, but now what? No easy answers here. Either we figure out how to compete directly with what those other 23 have to offer or we sink to backwater status.

Posted by: John Wilson | December 23, 2016 10:20 AM    Report this comment

"It just ain't right!"

Well, it may not be. But tell to that the workers in Duluth hired to build the Cirrus jet. Tell that to the workers in Mobile hired to install and operate new production machinery. Tell it to the workers who will be hired in London, Ontario to install a new composite line and hang around to run it.

Then when you're done with that, call your broker and ask him/her to find funds or companies investing in, not just U.S. aerospace, but the light aircraft industry that you love and whose gutting by the Chinese you are now decrying. Go have coffee with a venture broker and make the pitch.

Good luck. American investors--and businesses--are in for the big hit now, not long term modest growth strategies that build future industries. We may be about to have an administration that will try to prevent these investments and company purchases and that's just fine. If they don't get capital infusion, they'll go away and the jobs with them. That's better?

Don't forget, people were crapping their pants when the Japanese seized market control of the auto industry in the mid-1980s. Now there are 12 Japanese auto plants in the U.S. with thousands employed. Don't forget to tell them their jobs "ain't right."

As John notes, globalism is not going away. Trade is not going away, although it may have reached a temporary pause. If you're just standing on the sidelines saying how horrible it is and that someone should do something, what are you proposing other than carping about it? I don't have a solution so I'm not with you. These buyouts aren't ideal, but they at least keep the lights on.

The world isn't as it once was. We're not going back.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | December 23, 2016 11:08 AM    Report this comment

What I propose is Protectionism. Can the U.S. Government, under a fictitious name, buy real estate of manufacturing technology in the People's republic of china? We're not going back but we don't have to become business whores.

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | December 23, 2016 11:31 AM    Report this comment

CFIUS is, by another name, protectionism. You can always go with tariffs, but that may require telling WTO to take a hike. The U.S. has prided itself on the rule of international law, but maybe going rogue is what's needed.

Won't be a free ride, though.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | December 23, 2016 11:40 AM    Report this comment

I neglected to mention that there is domestic investment going on in general aviation. I visited one company last week, Blackhawk, and they're self-investing in their PT6 conversion projects. Doing well at it.

Others are, too, although not as many as we might like.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | December 23, 2016 11:49 AM    Report this comment

Paul--"You can always go with tariffs, but that may require telling WTO to take a hike. The U.S. has prided itself on the rule of international law, but maybe going rogue is what's needed."

At that is the hammer that Trump proposes--enacting tariffs, or "going rogue." I'm all for it--the World Trade Organization is about as effective as the UN (the super-expensive "world agency" that can't even distribute powdered milk). The World Trade Organization has been a colossal failure. It's basic tenets are NON-DISCRIMINATION (all countries to be treated the same), RECIPROCITY (no "free rides" by importing a technology and stealing it), BINDING AND ENFORCEABLE COMMITMENTS, TRANSPARENCY, and SAFETY (the big one there is "climate change").

I would argue that the WTO rarely meets ANY of their stated goals. That's the problem with the "international treaties" negotiated in the past couple of decades--WE are expected to observe the treaties, but there is no power on Earth to make rest of the signatories observe them. Fix them, or go back to letting the marketplace rule.

Posted by: jim hanson | December 23, 2016 3:39 PM    Report this comment

Tariffs are the diametric opposite of letting the market rule and always have been. It's a classic example of governments picking winners and losers based on who the government decides to protect. And that's based on who has the richest lobbyists.

That easily devolves into favoritism colored by political considerations. Either the market is unfettered or it isn't. Or maybe it's partially fettered. Either way, tariffs haven't been a free ride in the U.S. or anywhere else. And we've used them, historically.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | December 23, 2016 4:16 PM    Report this comment

But we digress. The People's Republic of China should not be allowed to own businesses in the U.S.

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | December 23, 2016 4:47 PM    Report this comment

So Paul, I take it you disagree with my comments.

Posted by: Thomas Cooke | December 23, 2016 5:01 PM    Report this comment

"Peace in Our Time!" ... how'd that all work out fer us all?

Do we settle for short term economic gain or long time stability ...

Posted by: Larry Stencel | December 23, 2016 7:03 PM    Report this comment

For the free market to work both sides of the trade must be totally free and allow market forces to prevail. Presently, the Chinese side it totally government controlled, the currency manipulated and our goods subject to restrictions. So how do you get the Chinese to allow a free market? You smack their goods with a tariff or other penalty that will level the playing field.

When you have a government dumping products at below cost on an other country's market to destroy competition, you do not have a free market. The Chinese will eventually migrate the manufacturing to the homeland. That is why they have invested in it. They have bought their way up the learning curve. As they master the processes, you will see part manufacture move back to the homeland. It won't be a giant sucking sound, just slow and steady drip drip drip.

Unfortunately, in the US, the smart money is going after better returns and less liability than they realize in aviation. So, we have no choice but to live with the present situation.

Posted by: Leo LeBoeuf | December 23, 2016 10:28 PM    Report this comment

With regard to tariffs and protectionism, one of the things I've been interested in is reshoring--bringing back manufacturing from offshore where labor was assumed to be cheaper and thus made products more competitive.

Reshoring is an established trend, albeit not a tidal wave. Economically, offshoring still outstrips it, but it isn't as unbalanced as it once was. It's a complex subject and people who say "we can easily bring those jobs back" don't know what they're talking about.

Here's a Wharton School analysis of it: www.knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/offshoring-gets-a-rethink/

As the article points out, this is far from a black and white issue. Thousands of companies are analyzing it and trying to determine how to be the most competitive with their products regardless of where they are made. It's a classic case of the free market operating to find the most efficient use of capital replication. The flow offshore or reshore is not a uniform thing nor necessarily even a big thing.

Now insert tariffs into that equation. Or laws that prohibit offshore investment in industries you wish to protect--possibly for optics or political reasons. Now the government is meddling in the free market and denying some of these companies the very options they need to seek competitiveness.

If the government intervention is minimal and just nudges markets in the right direction, maybe that's good. But we're not very good at that in the U.S., thus tariffs can be just another ham handed example of government picking winners and losers. The unfair trade practices argument is eventually neutralized by the very fact that natural market forces are so strong, if they're allowed to be. Read about over capacity in the Chinese steel industry to understand that.

So overall, no, I don't favor tariffs except to protect against dumping. We used them on Chinese steel and solar panels, among other selective applications. And blocking foreign capital inflow strikes me as downright idiocy.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | December 24, 2016 7:24 AM    Report this comment

What many companies have experienced and not always taken into account as a cost is culture.
You can't change culture. It is what it is and trying to integrate it into production is usually not taken into account. In addition, quality control becomes more of an issue. Either your product quality control suffers or additional capital is required to sustain a given level. Lose quality control and you quickly lose customers. Trying to get back customers after losing them because of a drop in quality or service is almost impossible. It's the kiss of death. Transportation from there to here is a given additional cost. In addition, your company is not viewed upon in a positive light by the very nature that you are sending jobs and money somewhere else other than keeping them at home. Like it or not it's all about perception. Add all of that together in addition to the many other costs of outsourcing and all of a sudden it becomes very cost effective to stay at home. It's smart business to support those people you want to sell to.

Posted by: Thomas Cooke | December 24, 2016 7:50 AM    Report this comment

DOD ANNUAL REPORT TO CONGRESS

Military and Security Developments
Involving the People's Republic of China 2016

Executive Summary

Read all about it.

www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/2015_China_Military_Power_Report.pdf

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | December 24, 2016 9:24 AM    Report this comment

From the comments, I think we're all free-marketers here.

What ISN'T free market is the imposition of regulation and taxes on onshore industry, while not demanding that products produced elsewhere and sold in the U.S. also meet those same standards. If the "World Trade Organization" was actually DOING IT'S JOB, there wouldn't be an issue. Once again--the stated purpose of the WTO is NON-DISCRIMINATION, RECIPROCITY, BINDING AND ENFORCEABLE COMMITMENTS, RECIPROCITY, and SAFETY. The WTO enforces NONE of those--and we don't demand that they do. That's the problem. The threat (and the knowledge by offenders that we will carry out the threat) of a tariff is logical. All we're asking is that everybody agree to play by the rules. (Anybody remember Wattersopn's comic strip "Calvin & Hobbs"--where they played "Calvinball" and the rules were anything they THOUGHT they should be?) We're a signatory to the WTO treaties--why aren't we DEMANDING that the rules be enforced? Level the playing field, and it costs MORE to produce goods elsewhere.

If the WTO rules aren't enforced, we should drop out and go our own way--let the rest of the members engage in their useless dither.

Posted by: jim hanson | December 24, 2016 10:44 AM    Report this comment

Excellent link, RAF ... everyone ought to take the time to at least read the Executive Summary and then put that in juxtaposition with their incessant appetite for devouring western technology.

When I worked on a high security program, the security wasn't necessarily to keep the "bad boys" from never acquiring the technology, it was about delaying it and having a special surprise for them ... thereby giving us time to develop that one and move onto the next. NOW, we're handing it over carte-blanche. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but I believe we are being penny wise and dollar foolish. Why grow vegetables when you can just go to the market and just trade your dollars for tomatoes, et al?

"China's advanced technology acquisition strategy continues to center on its civil- military integration policy as a means to leverage dual-use technologies to improve its defense industries. Despite improvements to its own indigenous technology development and industrial capacity, China continues to rely on the acquisition of critical advanced and Western dual-use technology, components, equipment, and know-how. These acquisitions manifest in the form of joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, and close business partnerships with, and technology imports from, highly developed countries, primarily of the West, ..."

"China has used the lure of domestic market access to tap into a ready source of technology, research and development, and investment that benefits its domestic civilian sectors and also, ultimately, its military modernization."

"It is challenging to differentiate between civil and military end-use in China's high technology sector due to opaque corporate structures, hidden asset ownership, and the connections, cross-training, and exchange of commercial and military personnel. Despite some privatization, many commercial entities retain affiliation with PLA research institutes, or have ties, and are subject to the control of central government organizations such as the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, which blurs the lines between civil and defense sectors."

Posted by: Larry Stencel | December 24, 2016 11:27 AM    Report this comment

Larry, in short, we are being played.

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | December 24, 2016 12:26 PM    Report this comment

Well, on this most joyous of nights, take grim satisfaction from this: All those airplanes Cessna crushed last week were made in China!

Meanwhile, I'm busy in the kitchen making my annual Christmas meatballs with tomato sauce. Genuine made-in-Wisconsin Parmesan, too.

I wish everyone a most merry Christmas.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | December 24, 2016 1:06 PM    Report this comment

Paul, Larry, Jim, Gary, YARS, Merry Christmas to all.

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | December 24, 2016 2:35 PM    Report this comment

Yes ... amidst the seemingly 'negativity' of this blog ... let me -- too -- wish all the regulars, et al, a very joyous Merry Christmas and wishes for a happy and healthy and prosperous New Year 2017. This blog is a very special place for people like us to "hang" and trade ideas ... thank you, PB. We may well be the last of our 'kind?'

Posted by: Larry Stencel | December 24, 2016 10:08 PM    Report this comment

Couldn't get the CAPTCHA to work from my phone...

Whenever I visit here, I can count on some tasty morsels of insight. Merry Christmas to all of my fellow denizens herein. All of you are my favorite gift.

-YARS

Posted by: Tom Yarsley | December 25, 2016 6:40 AM    Report this comment

As a relative newcomer to this blog, I add my Christmas wishes to the crowd. Thank you, Paul, for giving all of us your insights and providing a venue to exchange ideas.

Posted by: John McNamee | December 25, 2016 10:50 AM    Report this comment

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