Aircraft maker Hawker Beechcraft outlines new bankruptcy plan

NEW YORK Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:52pm EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Aerospace manufacturer Hawker Beechcraft Inc HKBCH.UL on Monday unveiled a bankruptcy exit plan that would give control of the company to secured creditors after a proposed sale to a Chinese firm fell through.

The Wichita, Kansas-based firm filed a disclosure statement in Manhattan bankruptcy court revealing plans to hand 81.1 percent of its new equity to senior lenders, which include Angelo Gordon & Co, Centerbridge Partners, Sankaty Advisors and Capital Research & Management. The rest of the equity would go to senior and junior noteholders, according to the filing.

The move comes 11 days after Hawker's announcement that its plan to sell itself to China's Superior Aviation Beijing Co for $1.79 billion had fallen through. Hawker said at the time that it would pursue a backup plan under which creditors would receive equity and general unsecured claims would be canceled.

Hawker CEO Steve Miller said at an October 18 conference that China-bashing by U.S. presidential candidates may have contributed to the failure of the sale talks.

"Global politics may have interfered," said Miller, who had been in Beijing the previous week trying to sell the firm. Miller cited competing calls from Democrats and Republicans for toughness on China's currency policies.

The new plan should allow for Hawker to emerge as a standalone company in early 2013. The plan requires creditor and court approval, though Hawker said it already has the support of major creditors.

The company has said it would rename itself Beechcraft Corp and would likely get out of the corporate jet business, focusing on turboprop, piston, special mission and trainer/attack aircraft.

Owned by Goldman Sachs's (GS.N) private equity unit and Canada's Onex, Hawker went into a tailspin after the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent economic downturn. It filed bankruptcy in May with about $2.5 billion in debt, including roughly $1.8 billion under a senior credit facility.

The plan provides for a $530 million exit loan under which Hawker will be able to pay off its previous bankruptcy loan, according to the filing.

In presidential debates, Republican Mitt Romney has slammed President Barack Obama for allowing China to keep its currency at low levels to the detriment of U.S. competitiveness and trade deficits. Obama has countered that he is tougher on trade policies with China than Romney would be.

The bankruptcy is In Re Hawker Beechcraft Inc et al, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No. 12-11873.

(Reporting by Nick Brown; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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