Commander Premier Aircraft Corp. (CPAC), based at Cape Girardeau Regional Airport in Missouri, has been sold to Aero-Base Inc. of Montreal, Canada.
Aero-Base will buy the FAA Type Certificate and production assets for the Commander line of high performance, single-engine aircraft. The agreement requires that Aero-Base also ink a deal for the company’s production facility on the airport, which is leased from the city of Cape Girardeau. Aero-Base officials note they have had preliminary discussions with the city and expect to reach a “mutually acceptable understanding.”
CPAC was formed four years ago by a group of 50 Commander aircraft owners, active in the Commander Owners Group (COG), to save the brand, as well as provide service for the brand while seeking a new investor to ramp up Commander production.
“The sale of CPAC to Aero-Base will mark the conclusion of CPAC’s original mission to find or create a responsible company to produce new Commander aircraft and provide parts and service to the existing Commander fleet,” declared Gregory Walker, president. “We’re pleased that our temporary stewardship over the Commander brand can come to a close and that we will be delivering CPAC to a responsible, well-financed new parent that will fulfill our goal of restoring Commander production.”
“I’m delighted that Aero-Base will be the company to bring Commander aircraft back into production,” said Aero-Base President Ronald Strauss. “I’ve owned a Commander and I’m confident that it will be enthusiastically accepted by its target market , especially with the design advances we intend to incorporate as we ramp up new production.”
The proposed sale has been in the works for the past year, but because of the worldwide financial crisis, financing for the acquisition was delayed until now, according to Aero-Base officials. Financing agreements are in place, which should allow the transaction to “go forward quickly,” officials add.
A key element in the transaction was the willingness of several major CPAC creditors to accept discounted payments for their debt, CPAC officials noted. Without the creditor concessions, CPAC would be able to pay off all its debts, but stockholders would be left with little.
Officials report the sale was cast into doubt when CPAC’s biggest lender sold a CPAC note to Burlington, Vermont-based Aerodyme Corp., one of the company’s original stockholders. It also owns an STC to replace original Commander engines with larger, 320-hp engines. However, Aerodyme
President Jim Richards confirmed that his company would accept the discounted payoff that had been arranged with the former note holder as long as arrangements for payment were made by Aug. 15.
“Aerodyme’s confirmation will assure that the transaction can proceed and that a financially strong parent will continue the project to restore Commander production,” said Walker. “All Commander owners owe thanks to Jim Richards for honoring the arrangement with the former note holder.”
“I am hoping to have a good working relationship with Aerodyme after the closing,” said Strauss. “We respect the work Mr. Richards has done with the Commander engine and we appreciate his holding the payoff arrangement available for our transaction.”
The transaction is being arranged by CPAC’s advisor, StoneGate Capital Group of Harford, Conn., which was retained by the company’s “founding 50” four years ago to negotiate the original Commander asset acquisition and find financing and/or a buyer for the company. StoneGate also provided interim management for the company until its parts and service operations were established and the company received Parts Manufacturer Approval from the FAA.
For more information: www.commanderpremier.com