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Tue, Jul 15, 2003

New Piper's Changing Owners, a Little

New Piper Has New Money, Possibly New Owner

Since last night, the rumors have been flying; now, we know something: American Capital Strategies Ltd., out of Bethesda (MD), has purchased a large portion (rumored to be about 3/4) of New Piper's debt. In real money, that comes to about $130 million.

That transaction means two things: the airplane company will have some cash to work with; and American Capital is well on its way to being the owner of record of New Piper.

The announcement, as we informed you early this morning, was made by New Piper's President, Chuck Suma, at a very special press conference in New York city. He was enthusiastic: "The American Capital investment is a major step in the right direction for New Piper," he told assembled financial reporters.

American Capital's Managing Director (and Senior VP), Gordon O’Brien, seemed happy with the deal, and with New Piper's management: "The exceptional leadership of The New Piper management team, the company’s strong dealer network, its dedicated and skilled workforce were major factors in deciding to invest additional capital in the company." He continued, "We have watched Chuck Suma and his team rebuild New Piper into an innovative leader in general aviation, despite what has been a particularly tough economic climate."

It looked like the right company, at the right time, O'Brien continued. "We think New Piper is now poised to become even stronger as the economy -- and general aviation, in particular -- rebound."

After all the dust settles in a couple weeks, will any of the 800 or so former employees be recalled? It may be too early to tell, but President Suma did not rule out the possibility. After all, that's what a recovery plan is all about -- and, as New Piper has new money, and the industry itself is actually starting to stagger to its feet, why not?

FMI: www.newpiper.com; www.american-capital.com

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