I keep asking which western aircraft manufacturer will be the next one bought up and I never seem to have to wait long for the answer.
This week the answer is LISA Airplanes of France. The company is a relatively new start-up that has been working on developing the very sleek and innovative, if expensive, LISA Akoya amphibian. The Akoya is intended to be a two-seat light-sport design with a price tag of US$350,000.
Development had been going well and the design had attracted ten orders already, but in the summer of 2012 the company ran out of money, laid almost everyone off and was placed in receivership. As usual no western investment was forthcoming and things were not looking good for the company until the Heima Mining Company of Leshan City, China offered US$20 million for a 75% stake in the company, controlling interest and the right to name the chairman.
The Heima Mining Company is, well, in the mining business, but has indicated that it is interested in future aerospace acquisitions.
The Heima investment seems to have put things back on track at LISA, the staff rehired and talk of two more production lines being added. The buyout happened just in time, it seems.
So here is the current list of western aerospace firms bought put so far:
- Cirrus Aircraft - Government of the Peoples Republic of China
- Continental Engines - Government of the Peoples Republic of China
- Diamond Aircraft - majority owned by Medrar Financial Group, Dubai
- Enstrom Helicopter Corporation - Chongqing Helicopter Investment Co, China
- Epic Aircraft - Engineering LLC, Russia
- Flightstar Sportplanes - rights, tooling and parts inventory purchased by Yuneec International, China
- Glasair Aircraft - Jilin Hanxing Group, China
- International Lease Finance Corp - 90% New China Trust Co Ltd, New China Life Insurance Co Ltd, P3 Investments Ltd and China Aviation Industrial Fund
- Liberty Aerospace - 75% owned by the Kuwait Finance House, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kuwait Finance House of Bahrain
- LISA Airplanes - 75% owned by Heima Mining Company, China
- Piper Aircraft - Government of Brunei
- Superior Air Parts - Weifang Tianxiang Technology Group, China
So, who will be next?