Aviation analyst Wayne Plucker of Frost & Sullivan, has said the sale to Textron would be good for Wichita.
Beechcraft has good products, but it was too small of a player in a depressed market, Plucker said last week, after the Financial Times first reported the rumored sale. At the time, officials at both companies declined to comment on the report. And Cessna is only somewhat better, Plucker said, with sales of its light jets remaining weak.
A combined company could pick and choose its strongest offerings and prune back some weaker models, he said.
The sale offers Beechcraft an upside, Richard Aboulafia, an aviation analyst with the Teal Group, said last week. It will help stabilize the company in the long run, he said.
And for Cessna, it offers a chance to improve margins by selling a wider range of popular products more efficiently.
Hawker Beechcraft carried a debt load from the sale to Goldman Sachs and Onex Corp. in 2007. The downturn in the aviation market in 2008 led to the May 2012 bankruptcy. A potential buyer for the struggling company was found in China -- Superior Aviation Beijing Co. -- but that $1.79 billion deal fell apart.
In December 2012, the bankruptcy court approved a plan for the company to end jet production and emerge as a smaller, stand-alone company called Beechcraft Corp. The restructured company focuses on its King Air, Baron and Bonanza lines, its defense business and its after-market business.
Beechcraft emerged from bankruptcy in February.
In October, the company reported that it delivered more King Airs, Barons and Bonanzas in the first three quarters of 2013 than any year since 2008.
In August, Beechcraft received what it says is the largest general aviation propeller-driven airplane order in history. The company received an order from newly formed Wheels Up, a membership-based private aviation company for 35 King Air 350i turboprops to be delivered by mid-2015, with an option for 70 more as Wheels Up grows.
Beechcraft also said that it is raising production rates for 2014 to keep up with higher-than-planned orders.
The work that was done during bankruptcy and after its emergence created the company's substantial value, Boisture said.
"The transaction recognizes that that happened, and it recognizes that Beechcraft once again is a very valuable company," he said. "This is a recognition of the employees hard work."
Cessna, in the meantime, has posted losses through the first nine months of 2013. The company's deliveries were down 22 percent through the third quarter and its billings were down 26 percent, according to data from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.
Besides Cessna, Textron also operates an Industrial and Finance arm and Bell Helicopter. Textron also formed a partnership with AirLand Enterprises to build the Scorpion, a multi-mission tactical military jet. The plane was developed and built in a Cessna facility in east Wichita. It took its first flight this month.
Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter: @mmcmillin.
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