Interim liquidators of iconic New Zealand planemaker Pacific Aerospace have High Court approval to dispose of the business and its assets and say they are talking to a number of interested parties.
Steven Khov of
Khov Jones said as interim liquidators of the Hamilton company which, until Covid-19 tightened market pockets, produced the globally popular multi-purpose aircraft the P-750 XSTOL, their powers had been extended by the High Court.
A substantive hearing for full liquidation would be heard by the High Court next week, he said.
The company, which employs around 100 people and has a plane-making legacy going back to 1949, was put into interim liquidation on February 12.
At the time, Khov told the Herald the appointment of an interim liquidator by the High Court didn’t happen often.
The job was to step in and ensure assets and their value were preserved, he said. An interim liquidator had the same powers as a liquidator. In the normal course of events, a creditor or creditors successful in applying for interim liquidation would go on to apply to the High Court for liquidation.
Pacific Aerospace chief executive Mark Crouch at the time told the Herald the light aircraft manufacturer and exporter was brought down by Covid-19, leading to its Chinese and New Zealand joint venture shareholders deciding to exit the business.
Crouch said he was working to secure new owners to resume aircraft production.
“PAL (Pacific Aerospace Ltd) was severely impacted by the global effect of Covid-19 with numerous aircraft orders cancelled or postponed. The current shareholders which include a large Chinese state-owned company as well as a local shareholder group have decided to exit the company and therefore I am working at pace to secure new owners who will be able to assist the company to resume production.”
“The company has enjoyed the long term support of our highly skilled workforce as well as the loyal customers who operate our aircraft.
“My focus is on a re-energised company that has the resources to support our customers and continue to develop the aircraft types,” said Crouch, who has been with the company more than five years, the past two as chief executive.
Pacific Aerospace’s staff include skilled and experienced aviation builders and designers who’ve been with the company many years and, under various owners, have seen it ride out more economic cyclic turbulence than the Red Baron.
In its most recent form as Pacific Aerospace Ltd, it was incorporated in 2006.
It entered a joint venture in 2016 with BAIC International, a Hong Kong-based subsidiary of China state-owned juggernaut Beijing Automotive.
BAIC owned 50 per cent and local shareholders PAHL, who included Pacific Aerospace’s then-chief executive Damian Camp, held 50 per cent.
At the time Camp said the deal was a game-changer for a $30 million annual revenue company that had been “pottering along”.
It could now contemplate “phenomenal” growth, helping China’s central government meet its aim of massively increasing China’s general aviation sector, he said. General aviation is distinct from military and passenger aviation and China considered its growth essential for economic development.
Camp hoped the joint venture would see Pacific Aerospace become one of the world’s most successful general aviation aircraft companies, doubling its staff within 10 years, and at home in the Waikato, rolling out up to 40 aircraft a year.
What caught China’s eye was Pacific Aerospace’s unique P-750 XSTOL, a multi-purpose aircraft developed from the core of New Zealand’s beloved aviation workhorse the Cresco.
The P-750 debuted in 2006, and its ability to take off and land on extremely short airstrips meant it was snapped up by sky diving and adventure companies around the world. It also proved popular for aerial survey work, search and rescue, security patrolling, and freight transport and Pacific Aerospace’s future after years of scratching for a living and numerous restructures looked set.
The joint venture in 2016 provided for assembly work on P-750s destined for the Chinese market to be shared between Hamilton and China. There was also scope for Pacific Aerospace to provide China with pilot and maintenance engineering training.
Pacific Aerospace has had several reincarnations making different aircraft from Fletcher topdressers to aerobatic air trainers over the decades.
This content was originally published here.