UPDATE: Beechcraft to be bought by Cessna parent company

By: KAKE News Email
By: KAKE News Email
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It's official.

After weeks of rumors, Cessna's parent company, Textron, is the new owner of Beechcraft.

Beechcraft Corporation announced Thursday night that Textron has agreed to acquire Beech Holdings, LLC, the parent of Beechcraft Corporation, for approximately $1.4 billion in cash.

Textron, based in Providence, R.I., is a strong New York Stock Exchange company that is also known for Bell Helicopter.

The deal is expected to provide stability for Beechcraft, which just nine months ago emerged from bankruptcy.

The President of the District 70 International Association of Machinists, Frank Molina, Jr. says, "I'm so glad to find out it ends up being kept here in Wichita."

Last year then Hawker Beechcraft was in discussions with Superior Aviation of China to be purchased.

Beechcraft employees have been on a ride of turmoil in recent years leading up to and through the company's bankruptcy.

Molina says people in general don't like more change but he says, "I think it actually gives them a lot better chance for a future. It's got a company that has money to help them. And to help them develop better products. I honestly believe that it's in the best interest for all the folks."

He doesn't expect any workforce reductions in the bargaining unit due to the Textron purchase. Molina also believes this Textron purchase could lead to more work coming to Wichita.

“This transaction represents an important step forward in the evolution of Beechcraft’s business. The team at Beechcraft has worked tirelessly to strengthen our core business and to maintain our position as a leader in a highly competitive environment," Beechcraft CEO Bill Boisture said in a news release. "Textron’s experience in the industry and its willingness to invest in and maintain the iconic Beechcraft brand make it an ideal parent company, one that will help us continue to satisfy our customers and meet our business objectives at a faster pace.”

Under the terms of the transaction, Textron will acquire the Hawker 4000 and Premier IA type certificates. Maintenance services for the aircraft will continue through Beechcraft’s factory-owned service center network, Hawker Beechcraft Services, and Authorized Service Centers around the world with Hawker 4000 and Premier ratings. Beechcraft will continue to provide uninterrupted service and support for all Hawker 4000 and Premier aircraft.

Textron leaders say they plan to hold on to the Beechcraft name, the name coming from Walter Beech when he formed the company in the 1930's.

Textron notes that the Beechcraft's strong brand identity and product line, including the King Air, will allow the company to extend its general aviation business.

"From our customers' perspective, this creates a broader selection of aircraft and a larger service footprint -- all sharing the same high standards of quality and innovation," Textron Chairman and CEO Scott Donnelly said in a release.

The transaction was unanimously supported by Beechcraft’s board of directors and is expected to close during the first half of 2014 after government approvals.

Analysts have said this deal is likely a good one for Wichita.

"In order to have any long term future with investment and new product development, Beechcraft had to be part of a bigger company. It's better to be a part of a company with a serious commitment to aerospace," Richard Aboulafia said. "Textron is definitely a good move in terms of stabilizing (Beechcraft's) presence."


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