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Tue, Jun 28, 2011

It's Done! Cirrus Merger With CAIGA Closed

Wouters: "We're Very Excited To Have Joined Forces With CAIGA"

Cirrus is now a Chinese company. Take from that what you will...

In a news release posted on the company website Tuesday, Cirrus and China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co., Ltd. (CAIGA) announced that the two companies have completed their 'merger.' Cirrus Aircraft now joins 'China's leading general aviation product and services company' to form what they are calling a worldwide general aviation enterprise. Mind you, this is the agreement that Cirrus CEO Brent Wouters denied was underway during a number of interviews in the last year.

"We're very excited to have joined forces with CAIGA," said Brent Wouters, Cirrus President and Chief Executive Officer. "This partnership will benefit our business and our customers; we share with CAIGA a vision of worldwide growth. CAIGA has the resources that will allow us to expedite our aircraft development programs and accelerate our global expansion."

Wouters also said that he expects the merger to deliver benefits in terms of jobs and job growth in the United States: "Our partners at CAIGA understand the strength and the talent of Cirrus's workforce who have made the Cirrus brand so successful and prominent in the general aviation marketplace. CAIGA will continue to invest in our employees and in our world-class production facilities in Minnesota and North Dakota."

"We are very impressed with Cirrus' performance in the global general aviation industry" said Meng Xiangkai, CAIGA president. "It has a very strong record of consistent product excellence, comprehensive safety features, an outstanding management team and a highly skilled workforce who operate from advanced production facilities. We look forward to working with Cirrus' management team to build upon its success and to expand production volume to further cement Cirrus' leadership position in the global general aviation industry."

Cirrus Aircraft Co-Founder Dale Klapmeier said the completion of the merger was an important milestone in the company's history: "This is a very positive development that allows us to continue our mission to develop and build the best, most exciting aircraft in the world. Through our merger with CAIGA Cirrus will continue to lead the industry in bringing increased safety, performance, and comfort to the general aviation community."

The Duluth News Tribune reports that Congressman Chip Cravaack (R-MN), who had expressed doubts about the sale, said that he was satisfied that the deal had been properly vetted. He said his staff had been in touch with the State Department, and he was assured that "sensitive technology will not fall into the wrong hands."

An ANN multi-part series ( Part 1, Part 2) , looking at the problems that have occurred since Wouters took over as CEO of Cirrus, has revealed serious concerns over the business practices, veracity and even legality of Cirrus operations. The new ownership would seem to have an uphill battle before them to restore the trust that this company once had. If the current management team is retained for any length of time, beyond a reasonable transition, ANN has been told by several suppliers and industry observers that the lack of trust in the current regime will be 'difficult to repair.'

FMI: www.cirrusaircraft.com

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