ETIRC Affiliate Makes Offer For Company
It's happened. Eclipse Aviation announced Tuesday it is seeking
court approval for debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing and
procedures for the sale of most of its assets under Section 363 of
the US Bankruptcy Code.
Eclipse filed for Chapter 11 protection in US Bankruptcy Court
in Delaware Tuesday morning, simultaneously announcing an agreement
for the sale of its assets for a combination of cash, equity and
debt to an affiliate of ETIRC Aviation S.a.r.l., Luxembourg,
subject to higher and better offers.
As ANN reported, ETIRC Aviation became
Eclipse's largest shareholder earlier this year. ETIRC Aviation
Chairman Roel Pieper has been the acting CEO of Eclipse since July
2008 and has served as Eclipse's Chairman since January 2008.
The proposed sale is subject to competitive bidding through a
public auction, which is expected to be completed and a sale
finalized in January 2009.
"In the face of unprecedented economic challenges, it is clear
that the sale of the Eclipse business through the Chapter 11
process is the right course of action to maximize the value of the
business, secure its future and protect the best interests of
Eclipse's stakeholders, including customers, suppliers, employees
and creditors," said Roel Pieper, CEO of Eclipse Aviation. "The
successful sale will position the business for aggressive global
expansion, allowing the company to fulfill its promise and solidify
its position as the world's leading manufacturer of VLJs."
As Eclipse struggles through the bankruptcy process, a group of
existing shareholders and note holders in the company will provide
Eclipse with post-petition, debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing.
Eclipse maintains this financing will provide the
company with sufficient resources to continue normal business
operations through the closing of the sale.
Eclipse also filed a motion with the Court to approve the
financing with a request for an expedited hearing to avoid business
interruption. If approved, the financing -- along with other relief
requested from the Court -- will position Eclipse to pay wages and
salaries, honor employee benefits, service customer aircraft and
continue manufacturing operations throughout the sale period.
New York-based investment bank Greenhill & Co., Inc., has
been retained as financial advisor.
Eclipse also announced Tuesday what it termed the "voluntary"
departure of Peg Billson from her position as president and general
manager of the company's Manufacturing Division to pursue other
Billson first came onboard Eclipse in July 2005 as Chief
Operating Officer, before being named to the new
position following Eclipse founder Vern Raburn's ouster from the
company three years later.
"Ms. Billson's position will be replaced with interim
manufacturing oversight provided by Eclipse's senior supply chain,
engineering, production and flight operations leaders," said an