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Diamond Canada could be flying higher now that the Chinese firm that acquired a majority stake in the aircraft plant last year has taken over the Diamond Aircraft parent company.

Diamond Aircraft, based in Austria, announced it had been acquired by Wanfeng Aviation Industry Co., a division of a huge Chinese conglomerate.

absolutely a positive move. You hear that Chinese investment means jobs will go to China, but I do not believe that in this case. This is a global company that grows companies all over the world, said Diamond Canada chief executive Peter Maurer.

The Wanfeng takeover comes a year after it acquired a 60 per cent share of Diamond Canadian operation. The base operations in Austria were not included in that deal, but Diamond chief executive Christian Dries has decided to sell the entire company.

needed to find the right partner to continue our good work . . . I look forward to seeing Diamond develop further, based on our successful year long partnership in Diamond Canada. Dries said in a statement.

Maurer said Dries, who founded the company 25 years ago, turned 60 last year with no relative interested in taking over.

had to look for an outside partner. Wanfeng is not looking to make a quick dollar or flip . . . this quickly, so the long term future for Diamond is assured, said Maurer.

The London Diamond plant produces a two seat, and four seat plane and makes airframes for a 12 passenger amphibious plane.

Maurer said Diamond Canada has done well since Wanfeng took majority control last year.

This fall, the plant begin manufacturing the twin engine, seven seater DA 62, which has orders into next September or October.

fact that Diamond Canada is growing right now is thanks to Wanfeng, said Maurer.

The company has about 190 employees and Maurer predicts that could grow to 300 if production goals are met. But, he said, recruiting has been a challenge and the company has boosted its human resources department to speed hiring.

Matt Thurber, editor in chief of Aviation International News, said Chinese companies have become major players in the aviation industry and the acquisition likely bodes well for the London plant.

Chinese investors have been stronger on the longer term market in aviation. They are not as concerned about the short term return, he said.

In the spring of 2010, Diamond suffered a major setback when Ottawa refused its bid for a $35 loan to help develop the D jet personal jet aircraft.

Maurer said the market for all small aircraft has declined since the D jet program was launched in 2004.

priority is our existing models. A program like D jet . . . takes a lot of cash before you deliver the first unit, he said,

But this year, Minnesota based competitor Cirrus launched the Vision jet, a small aircraft similar to the D jet. Cirrus is owned by a state owned Chinese company.

are watching with interest to see how that develops, said Maurer. Cirrus has significant success, that might increase interest in our aircraft. There usually room for more than one player in any market. already is a player in the London area. It owns Diamond Flight Centre a business unrelated to Diamond Canada at London International Airport and acquired Meridian Technologies, a Strathroy metal castings plant, in 2013.
timberland boots store Diamond Aircraft sold to Chinese firm