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“Land Rover of the skies manufacturer” facing financial problems

Wednesday, February 28th 2024 - 17:00 UTC
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Britten Norman's William Hynett, left, with Bob Seely MP in September Britten Norman's William Hynett, left, with Bob Seely MP in September

Six months after Isle of Wight aircraft manufacturer, Britten-Norman launched a plan to quadruple its output, the historic firm's future hangs in the balance. The maker of the affectingly known 'Land Rover of the skies' is considering bringing in administrators, according to reports.

The company said it is “exploring options to secure the necessary additional investment” and hopes to have a further announcement soon.

In September, it announced an interest from firms in Malta, India and Australia in Island-built planes, and was preparing to deliver it first aircraft, made at its reinvigorated Island-base, to the Falkland Islands.

Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely cut the ribbon at Bembridge new facilities, alongside the group's chief executive, William Hynett, who said the aim was to “build British and export to the world.”

The firm's iconic Islander has been flying since 1965 and although it has undergone 2,000 modifications since then, the basic design is true to the original and it is fondly referred to as the 'Land Rover of the skies'.

In September, William Hynett revealed Islanders are exported to far flung locations, including remote Pacific islands, Canada, South Africa and the Falkland Islands.

They had previously been manufactured in Romania, resulting in logistical challenges.

It was hoped boosting production on the Island would streamline the operation.

Speaking at the time, Mr Seely said: “I am delighted we are in shoring. We will do it better and we will probably do it at less global environmental cost than other countries.”

A spokesperson for Britten Norman said: “In support of the company’s future plans, especially with regard to the repatriation of aircraft manufacturing to the UK as announced last September, the board has appointed advisors to assist in exploring options to secure the necessary additional investment.

”While the board continues to engage in constructive discussions with the company’s key stakeholders, it has taken a decision to file court documents that will protect the position of the business.

“This will allow the board to focus on achieving the correct structure for any proposed new investment.

”Subject to a satisfactory conclusion of the process, the board is looking forward to following up with a further announcement in the coming weeks.”

Categories: Investments, International.

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