PracticeConsultingLevy Gee secures backing for troubled aeroplane maker

Levy Gee secures backing for troubled aeroplane maker

Millionaire Middle Eastern backers yesterday saved troubled aircraftmanufacturer Britten Norman from break-up with a multi-million pound buy out.

The Zawawi family, one of the Sultanate of Oman’s largest private sectorcompanies, have stepped in only a month after administrative receivers from top30 firm Levy Gee were called in following the collapse of another overseasrefinancing deal.

Bosses at the aircraft design, manufacture and overhaul specialists sought newinvestors for months, but a severe cash flow crisis finally forced closure.Up to one hundred jobs are now set to be saved at the Isle of Wight company,which shut down last month with almost £6m worth of aircraft under constructionand a £12m orderbook.

Redundancy notices were last month issued to 112 workers and a 21 strongskeleton staff retained at the Bembridge Airport-based manufacturer, who havebuilt a worldwide reputation since the 1950s exporting robust twin engine lightaircraft.

Administrative receiver Chris Laughton said that Britten did not have the fundsto keep the factory in production while an investor was sought, but a skeletonoperation had been retained to keep civil aviation and Ministry of Defencelicences.

He said: ‘It was a challenge to secure a sale in such a short period of time andI am delighted to have achieved this result so quickly.He added that the Zawawis had been looking specifically for a manufacturingpresence outside the Middle East.’

The new company, the B-N Group, has also pledged support for existing operatorsof its aircraft around the world and plans to expand the existing factory tomanufacture other types of aircraft.

He added:’This is a good expample of administrative receivership as asuccessful business rescue tool.’

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