Foley Organizing Cirrus Aircraft Counter-Offer
Within a week of publishing his industry analysis of China's
recent purchase of some US general aviation companies, consulting
firm BRiFO President Brian Foley now finds himself charting a new
and wholly different course of action on that topic. Foley's paper
discussed, among other things, the recent bid on Duluth,
Minnesota-based Cirrus Aircraft, a respected maker of light piston
aircraft, by Chinese plane maker China Aviation Industry General
Aircraft (CAIGA or AVIC).
BRiFO President Brian Foley
"Cirrus is an American success story that started in a humble
dairy barn, introduced important new technologies and rocketed to
market leadership," Foley said. "So it's not surprising that our US
aviation community would take an interest in this pending sale. But
what surprised me was the speed, passion and near-unanimity of the
feedback we received. I didn't talk to anyone who wanted to see
Cirrus shipped overseas. People want this company to be owned and
operated on American soil, period."
On hearing this, Foley began to see there could be an
alternative solution: "Since our aviation community wants Cirrus to
stay, might there not be some like-minded American investors who'd
be willing to provide the means? My knowledge and involvement with
the aviation investment community put me in the ideal position to
facilitate this." In addition to running his own general aviation
consultancy, Foley is affiliated as a licensed securities
representative with New York investment bank John W. Loofbourrow
Associates, Inc. Member FINRA, SIPC, MSRB who could potentially
coordinate and represent investors.
While no single US investor apparently bid on Cirrus initially,
Foley believes that better marketing of the offer and especially
directing it toward a pool of investors could make the difference.
He is already at the stage of reaching out to the primary owners to
see if they'd accept a serious counter-offer in the coming weeks
and to request the necessary backup materials needed to inform
potential investors. Assuming this falls into place, we're
confident we can identify and combine enough qualified investors
who value Cirrus' promise as a distinctively American company,"
Cirrus Aircraft was established in 1984 and was owned by its
founders until 2001, when a 58% share was sold to the Bahraini firm
of Crescent Capital, now known as Arcapita, for a reported $100
Though details of Cirrus' pending sale to China were not made
public, Foley expects the selling price to be in the $200-million
plus range. "We hope to gain cooperation and organize a bid," he
said. "And we may well have the time to do that because the China
deal still requires some pretty complicated government approvals.
The aviation community's telling us it's time to restore and keep
Cirrus here as an American treasure. I'm in a good position to try,
at least, to make that happen."
Brian Foley Associates describes itself as "recognized thought
leaders and management advisors to the general aviation industry."
Their primary practice areas include industry analysis and
forecasting, market research, strategic planning, new product
evaluation and transaction support. The firm was formed in 2006 by
industry veteran Brian Foley, a former executive at a major
business jet manufacturer for over 20 years. Mr. Foley is also a
licensed securities representative of John W. Loofbourrow
Associates, Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC, MSRB, who helps find buyers
and growth capital for general aviation companies.