Fri, Sep 28, 2007 - Page 12 News List

Sino Swearingen pins hopes on investor

AP , MARTINSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA

Jet maker Sino Swearingen Aircraft Co hopes to emerge from months of uncertainty by bringing on a new investor.

Action Aviation Investors plans to take over primary interest in the business, company officials announced on Tuesday. The Taiwanese government previously held the largest stake in the company.

The new investor is a joint venture between Sino Swearingen's largest distributor, UK-based Action Aviation, and ACQ Capital, an investment group in California.

The deal is expected to be complete by late October.

The company had been searching for a new investor for months to help improve its cash flow and position in the light jet market.

"This is the investor we've been looking for," Sino Swearingen spokesman Mark Fairchild said.

Officials hope the deal means Sino can move forward with the full-scale production of its SJ30 jet.

"This aircraft will revolutionize business travel in the light jet sector," Action Aviation Chairman Hamish Harding said in a statement, adding the deal is a "new beginning" for Sino.

Employment at Martinsburg peaked at about 230 last June, but Sino Swearingen laid off 38 Martinsburg employees last year and about 40 in July, according to an estimate by the Journal of Martinsburg.

Fuselages, wings and tail sections made in Martinsburg are sent to San Antonio, Texas, for assembly.

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