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Tue, Jul 31, 2012

Bankruptcy Not Withstanding, HBC Defends Executive Bonus Plan

Proposes $5.3 Million Be Paid To Eight Top Managers

Hawker Beechcraft last week presented a plan to U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Stuart Bernstein that would pay $5.3 million in bonuses to eight top executives, saying they are a "talented and capable group" who have a lot of work to do in helping the company emerge from its current state.

Judge Bernstein did not immediately rule on the bonus plan, according to an Associated Press report appearing in the Washington Post, but did greenlight $1.9 million in bonuses for over 30 mid-level managers.

The IAM, who had a representative in the room when the bonus plan was discussed, along with the U.S. Justice department, opposed the plan. Both have filed formal objections to the payment of bonuses at this time. The union in particular says it will actively oppose the payment of bonuses. Judge Bernstein said he had not been given enough information to make a ruling about the additional compensation for the top-level managers.

Union spokesman Frank Larkin said the proceedings needed to be about "what is best for Hawker Beechcraft, its employees, and the city of Wichita." HBC's court filing Thursday said that while there has been  progress, there are still many important decisions to be made.

The company is in exclusive discussions with Beijing, China-based Superior Aviation Beijing for the purchase of the GA and business jet segments of the HBC. The military division would not be sold to the Chinese concern, but the sale would still require multiple levels of regulatory approval before it could be consummated. HBC said its top managers are working simultaneously on two paths out of bankruptcy, and it it emerges as a stand-alone company, they will also have to negotiate their new pensions and retirement plans, as well as support from creditors.

FMI: www.nysb.uscourts.gov/judges/smb.html

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