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Wed, Jan 14, 2009

No Public Auction For Eclipse Assets

Interested Parties Walked Away, Source Says

Well, so much for that. Eclipse Aviation will not go up for public auction Wednesday, after the company failed to attract a single qualified bidder for the troubled planemaker's assets.

Citing statements from Dan Guyder, a partner with Eclipse's law firm, the Associated Press reports the Tuesday deadline for bids to be submitted and approved passed with little apparent fanfare. Eclipse consulted with two commitees made up of both secured and unsecured creditors to determine there were no qualified bids for the company.

A close source to the talks tells ANN no fewer than four entities considered bidding on the Eclipse assets, including at least one established business aircraft manufacturer... but in the end, each of those parties opted to walk away from the situation.

That clears the way for Luxembourg-based ETIRC Aviation, the largest shareholder in Eclipse, to continue its plan to buy the company through an affiliate. The AP states EclipseJet Aviation International intends to pay $28 million in cash for the company.

Part of that plan includes the issuance of $160 million in new notes, and offering 15 percent equity in the new company to current secured note holders.

As ANN reported, Eclipse filed for Chapter 11 protection November 25 in US Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. That announcement followed months of turmoil for the inaugural very-light jet manufacturer, including the ousting of company founder Vern Raburn as CEO, employee layoffs and a well-publicized, pre-Thanksgiving delay in paying those employees that still remained.

For the moment, Eclipse's production facilities in Albuquerque, NM remain in operation, propped up by post-petition, debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing.

FMI: www.eclipseaviation.com

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