MidTex Aviation has entered into an asset purchase agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets of Enstrom Helicopter Corporation and plans to reopen the factory in Menominee, Michigan. The asset purchase agreement was approved by the US Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Michigan as part of Enstrom's Chapter 7 bankruptcy process.
Principal Kevin Griffin says: “We are extremely excited about acquiring these assets, restarting the former Enstrom facility and expanding the scope of the business. We already have a number of former Enstrom employees working with us on a contract basis. After closing, we expect to make job offers to a substantial number more.”
MidTex expects to operate through a new entity to be named Enstrom Aerospace Industries. The new business will provide parts and support to existing owners, as well as new helicopters. In addition, the new company plans to expand into providing engineering services and component manufacturing for other OEMs. Upon closing, MidTex will acquire all of the former Enstrom parts, owned aircraft, tooling, materials, drawings, intellectual property, factory buildings and airport lease.
“This was just too good an opportunity to pass up,” says aviation manager Michael Dixon. “Not only will we get a turn-key helicopter manufacturer with a great brand and an established customer base, we will also get an excellent springboard to launch an aerostructures and component manufacturing business. Most people don't realise that Enstrom was vertically integrated, building nearly 90 per cent of the helicopters under one roof. It had the facilities to build almost anything.”
Dixon is also excited about the company's engineering capabilities. He continues: “Enstrom had a great relationship with the FAA and a proven track record of getting certifications quickly and efficiently. Likewise, we look forward to working with the FAA to expand to other aerospace projects, including eVTOLs, fixed wing, military equipment and other advanced air mobility products.”
“The former employees and management team couldn't be more excited about the opportunity to work for a new company operating the facility. This was the best possible outcome. There are a lot of Enstrom helicopter owners out there who have been holding their breath, and now they can breathe a sigh of relief,” says former Enstrom president Matt Francour.
“Not only will MidTex bring financial backing to operate the facilities and expand the business, it has a real vision for the future that goes beyond just building helicopters," adds former Enstrom director of sales and marketing Dennis Martin. "MidTex plans to invest and grow the company in a meaningful way. It's incredibly exciting.”
With a new ownership structure after closing the sale, the question for many customers shifts to when they can order parts and new aircraft.
“Soon,” says Francour. “It's going to take a little time to close the sale transaction, get the employees back and get production ramped up. But, MidTex understands that the immediate priority is restoring support to the fleet.”
Griffin adds: “This is a unique opportunity to acquire unique assets and put capable people back to work in an exciting industry. After closing, we look forward to working with customers, suppliers, and other parties to make this business a success.”