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Piper Aircraft sold to Asian investors; Company to stay in Vero
BY IAN M. LOVE - MANAGING EDITOR (Week of May 1, 2009)

Piper Jet, a leading manufacturer of small general aviation aircraft which has been struggling through the current economic downturn, announced May 1 that it has been sold by its parent company, American Capital, to Imprimis, a Singapore-based investment company.

In a news release, the company said it intends to continue investment in the PiperJet and to keeping Piper’s headquarters and production facilities in Vero Beach. Piper is the largest Vero Beach employer.

“They are committed to making investments, it’s as good an owner as for us as we could get,” said company spokesman Mark Miller. “As good as American Capital was to us in helping us in getting through the hurricanes, we will see a capital investment that could help propel us to the next level of general aviation.”

American Capital, which has an ownership share in hundreds of different companies, has been struggling ever since the economy went on the skids last year. Piper CEO Jim Bass told Vero Beach 32963 in an article last week that Piper was cash-flow positive and as such was considered up for sale for the right price.

Imprimis, a corporate finance and investment management firm that operates from offices in Bangkok, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam, said in the release it plans to promote the Vero Beach jetmaker in its traditional markets in the U.S. and South America and to expand activities in the Asia Pacific, which is expected to experience steady growth for two- to six-seat aircraft over the next five years.

"Imprimis brings a level of support that will propel Piper from its current status as a company with a strong heritage, track record of innovation and great potential to one that is growing and pushing the envelope within general aviation," said Piper President and CEO James K. Bass. "Imprimis' commitment to grow Piper in both existing and emerging markets comes at a time when we are poised to enter a new era in aviation history."