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Fri, May 04, 2012

Hawker Beechcraft Files For Bankruptcy

Company Pulled The Trigger On The Long-Rumored Reorganization Late Thursday

It's not like no one saw this coming, but its still a blow to the aviation manufacturing industry, not to mention the local economy in Wichita. Hawker Beechcraft has filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy code.

Of course, Hawker's official announcement put as positive a spin on the situation as was possible. The company said in a news release posted on its website that it has "reached an agreement with a significant number of its senior secured lenders and senior bondholders on the terms of a financial restructuring plan that will strengthen the company for the future and eliminate approximately $2.5 billion in debt and approximately $125 million of annual cash interest expense. To implement the terms of the prearranged restructuring expeditiously, Hawker Beechcraft and certain of its subsidiaries today (Thursday) filed voluntary petitions under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York." The terms of the prearranged restructuring agreement will take effect when the company’s reorganization plan is confirmed by the Court and the Chapter 11 case is concluded.
 
As part of the prearranged restructuring, Hawker Beechcraft obtained a commitment for $400 million in Debtor-in-Possession (DIP) financing, which will enable it to continue paying employees, suppliers, vendors and others in the normal course of business.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement with our largest lenders and bondholders on a solution to stabilize and improve our capital structure," said Robert S. (Steve) Miller, CEO of Hawker Beechcraft, Inc. "In the last three years, the company has made aggressive transformational changes in all operational functions, and today’s announcement represents the next step forward. Restructuring our balance sheet and recapitalizing the company in partnership with our debtholders will dramatically improve Hawker Beechcraft’s ability to compete in a rapidly changing environment.”
 
Hawker Beechcraft continues to operate in the normal course of business and serve its customers around the world. All orders for available products will be fulfilled and the company’s commitment to providing the best products and service in the industry remains unchanged. Further, the company will comply with all Department of Defense acquisition and maintenance contracts, as well as agreements with international air forces including, but not limited to, the recently announced sale of T-6C+ trainer aircraft to Mexico. Hawker Beechcraft is also committed to moving forward with its bid to provide the U.S. Air Force with the AT-6 in support of the Light Air Support contract.

A prearranged Chapter 11 filing means the company has secured the support of a majority of its lenders and senior bondholders for its proposed financial restructuring prior to the Chapter 11 filing with the Court. Financial institutions representing more than two-thirds the company’s bank and senior bond debt are parties to the agreement.
 
Upon confirmation by the Court and consummation of the plan, equity ownership in Hawker Beechcraft will be transferred to holders of the company’s secured debt, bond debt and certain other unsecured creditors.

Hawker Beechcraft will continue its operations without interruption and meet its ongoing commitments to customers during the restructuring process. Specifically, deposits and progress payments will be secure and all customer orders for available products will be fulfilled. The company believes the size of the DIP financing commitment will be sufficient to maintain adequate and stable working capital and liquidity positions. The company expects to meet its obligations to its suppliers and employees in the ordinary course during the recapitalization process.
 
Miller continued, “As we have worked to develop this long-term plan to recapitalize the company and strongly position Hawker Beechcraft for the future, our employees have continued to build the best airplanes in the world and provide our owners with the most comprehensive global customer support in the industry. The protections provided by the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and the financing commitment we have obtained put Hawker Beechcraft in a great position to continue to do so throughout the restructuring process.”

The agreement includes a commitment from certain members of the senior lender group to provide $400 million in DIP financing, which the company expects will ensure sufficient liquidity during the reorganization process. Upon approval, this DIP facility will be available to fund Hawker Beechcraft’s operations, pay its suppliers and vendors and for other corporate purposes.

Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code allows a company to continue operating its business and managing its assets in the ordinary course of business. The U.S. Congress enacted Chapter 11 to encourage and enable a company to continue to operate while restructuring its business, thereby preserving jobs and maximizing the recovery for all its stakeholders.

FMI: www.hawkerbeechcraft.com

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