Chinese Bid For Epic Not Final
Owners group given chance to improve bid
April 1, 2010 — The bankruptcy fate of the Epic aircraft company lives on as several bidders vied for the remaining assets of Epic last week in Portland, Oregon. China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co. Ltd., a firm owned by the Chinese government, outbid an individual bidder from Kansas and the LT Builders Group, comprised of seven Epic aircraft owners/builders.
After losing the first round of bidding, the owners group got another chance to plead its case on Tuesday, March 30. It may be an uphill climb, as the judge, in giving the group another chance on Friday, April 2, to improve the details of their bid, disparaged their current business proposal in very strong and biting terms according to The Oregonian.
China Aviation is a subsidiary of Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), an aerospace giant that may be looking to expand into the general aviation sector, which in China is decades behind most western countries. AVIC bid $4.3 million for Epic’s assets but has showed in the last week increasing openness to partnering with the LT Builders Group. One additional intrigue is the existence of a U.S. Navy contract Epic held, which AVIC said they only discovered last week. AVIC said they aren’t interested in that portion of Epic’s business.
“They [AVIC] want to enhance the value of the brand in this country,” said Yan Yang, a lawyer who represented AVIC in the proceedings, to The Oregonian. “They’re open to suggestions and working with people interested in the same goal.”
LT Builders Group has been trying to purchase the company to rescue 15 partially constructed airframes that have been locked in Epic’s Bend, Oregon, plant since August 2009. As the bankruptcy process has progressed, a criminal investigation continues, and Epic’s original owners are also facing $60 million in claims from lawsuits and creditors.