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Wed, Dec 03, 2003

Signs of the Times -- OMF Undergoes Layoffs

Promising Company Hits Snags

One of the most promising aircraft in the two seat GA market is having some teething pains in getting it's North American production nailed down. OMF has confirmed that they have undertaken a series of temporary layoffs designed to bridge a gap in capital availability.

OMF has been quick to respond to ANN inquiries, and unusually upfront (for this industry) about what can only be considered some disappointing issues. Statements from OMF explain the situation, "OMF GmbH (the German parent company) is experiencing financial challenges. The new North American company, OMF Aircraft, is also experiencing challenges as it starts up its operations."

Layoffs in late November, from the Quebec manufacturing facility, has resulted in staffing reductions of fifteen people... leaving eight folks to continue operations. Major issues involved in the layoff decision include interruptions on the flow of parts to OMF, delays in cash receipts under current funding agreements, and the usual problems involved in bringing new GA aircraft to full production.

Laid-off employees may be recalled fairly shortly--depending on when funding shortages are resolved. The company is "hopeful that a solution is at close at hand." Once the resolution is in place, OMF believes it can resume normal operations within a period of eight weeks.

The current layoffs affect production staffers. The management team and the company's product support personnel remain in place, where their primary focus is to resolve the financial situation and support their clientele, while also continuing to establish the North American parts supplier base.

Unfortunately; the result of this is that production will be interrupted for a while... and at a time when sales were showing some perceptible improvement for the agile high-wing side-by-sider. Product support for the existing fleet remains "a top priority."

OMF staffers are quick to note that the difficulties that they are experiencing is not any indication of a lack of faith in their North American manufacturing plans, and that a North American presence will ultimately allow them to be "much more responsive to our customers, as well as allowing us to supply our products more cost effectively."

Development of the Symphony 135D diesel powered two-seater and the four-place Symphony 250 remain uninterrupted. More info to follow...

FMI: www.omf-aircraft.com

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