Jet Manufacturer Files For Bankruptcy

Emivest Aerospace Corp., who manufactures corporate jets at facilities in West Virginia and Texas, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (AP) -- A company that manufactures corporate jets at facilities in West Virginia and Texas has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Bill Walkup, the Eastern West Virginia Regional Airport Authority's general manager, said the Airport Authority was notified Friday of San Antonio-based Emivest Aerospace Corp.'s bankruptcy filing.

The filing made in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware estimates the number of creditors between 200 and 999. It listed both estimated assets and liabilities at between $50 million and $100 million.

Emivest is a subsidiary of Dubai-based Emirates Investment and Development.

The company acquired an 80 percent interest in Sino Swearingen Aircraft in 2008. The SJ30 corporate jet was assembled at facilities in Martinsburg and San Antonio.

Emivest spokesman Mark Fairchild didn't immediately return a telephone message Tuesday.

When Sino Swearingen won regulatory approval to build the jet in late 2005, it had 140 workers at the West Virginia plant.

Walkup told The Journal in Martinsburg that the facility's former president took another job about a month ago. He said one employee remained in Martinsburg.

"I have not seen her for a week," Walkup said. "There is no activity at the plant."

The company has delivered only a handful of aircraft, including one last year to actor Morgan Freeman.

U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., was instrumental in bringing the Sino Swearingen plant to Berkeley County

"I am very concerned about the news of restructuring at Emivest," Rockefeller said. "I worked hard to bring Sino Swearingen and now Emivest to West Virginia and I hope that they are able to restructure in a way that keeps the company in the Mountain State."

The West Virginia Jobs Investment trust, the state's venture capital fund, invested $2 million in Sino Swearingen in the early 1990s.

Andy Zulauf, the fund's executive director, told the Charleston Daily Mail the investment is currently valued at $3.1 million and it's too early to determine what impact the filing might have.

"We have our legal counsel reviewing the documents and expect to get some advice from them over the next week or so," Zulauf said.
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