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Fri, Dec 16, 2011

Piper Quietly Acquired By Sultan Of Brunei

Imprimis Has Sold The Florida Planemaker To The Brunei Finance Ministry

Piper has apparently very quietly been sold to one of the world's richest men ... the Sultan of Brunei. The previous owner ... Singapore-based investment holding company Imprimis ... says on its website "We divested our interests in Piper Aircraft and Piper Capital in October 2011."

The revelation comes just after Piper went to the Indian River County government seeking relief from repayment of some incentives it was offered when it opened its Vero Beach plant in 2008. The sale to the Sultan was not mentioned in the request to re-open negotiations on the incentive package.

VeroNews.com reports that in response to an e-mail, Imprimis managing partner Stephen Berger would only say that "Piper is owned by the Government of Brunei." He later said in a prepared statement that all of the management rights and equity interests had been transferred to the Brunei Finance Ministry. Berger also resigned as Chairman of Piper Aircraft Inc.

The changes apparently occurred as Piper was shuffling its top management in mid October. Simon Caldecott replaced Geoffery Berger (Stephen's brother) as CEO, and EVP Randy Groom left the company. In an interview with ANN, Caldecott indicated he was not at liberty to say what had led to the latest top management reorganization. Shortly thereafter, the plug was pulled on the Piper Altaire jet project.

Indian River County Administrator Joe Baird told the paper that he is not worried about the company being owned by the Government of Brunei. He said that he'd be far more concerned if the new owner was not a resource-rich county like the oil-producing Sultanate.

FMI: www.piper.com

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