Geci's Sky Aircraft nears liquidation

PARIS Tue Dec 4, 2012 1:34pm EST

PARIS Dec 4 (Reuters) - French engineering group Geci International's Sky Aircraft unit is heading for a likely liquidation this week after it was placed under creditor protection in October.

A court-appointed administrator for Sky Aircraft, whose flagship light-aircraft project Skylander has this year failed to raise the tens of millions of euros cash it needs, is expected to request the unit's liquidation at a commercial court hearing on Thursday, a staff representative told Reuters.

"Unless we raise the cash we need to pay our staff in the next two days, the court will decide on liquidation," said Nathalie Hannis, a CFE-CGC union representative.

If the unit is wound down, it will mark a grim milestone for its 159 employees and for the economy of France's north-eastern Lorraine region, which was supposed to get a lift from the project.

The French state had given some 50 million euros ($65.43 million) in financial support to Geci, which hoped to offer the Skylander to small airlines and logistics specialists like FedEx from 2014.

Although the government pledged additional funds via its FSI sovereign wealth fund, in the end it stopped short of agreeing to shoulder the whole project without outside financial support.

Geci's shares have been suspended since June.