$33 million development project in Trois‑Rivières
OMF Aviation chooses Trois-Rivières to establish its main North American base to build light aircraft
Trois-Rivières, March 27, 2003 - At a ceremony attended by Pauline Marois, Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance, Economy and Research, Yves Lévesque, mayor of Trois-Rivières, and François Chagnon, president and CEO of SGF Transport, a subsidiary of the Société générale de financement du Québec (SGF), Mathias Stinnes, owner of the Stinnes Group, to which OMF GmbH belongs, announced that Trois-Rivières had been chosen as the main centre of its North American operations and the site of its future manufacturing facility for single-engine aircraft. This development project amounting to some $33 million will help create 300 direct jobs over five years.
OMF, a German company founded in 1998, has already delivered about thirty aircraft and has orders for another fifty. For its $8 million investment, SGF gets a 24.9% interest in the parent company and 33.3% of the new subsidiary, OMF Aviation Inc., which will be located at Trois-Rivières Airport.
Investissement Québec has agreed to provide the new company with an equity loan of $3 million, plus a non-refundable financial contribution of up to $9.75 million over five years, that will be applied gradually as the payroll increases.
Deputy Premier Pauline Marois highlighted how important it is for the aerospace sector to have this manufacturer build a plant in Québec: "OMF is bringing one of the few kinds of expertise we didn’t yet have, the manufacturing of certified piston engine aircraft. This project will generate excellent subcontracting opportunities for Quebec small and medium-sized businesses because OMF plans to concentrate on aircraft development, assembly and marketing."
OMF president Derek Stinnes said that the development of the company could move forward. "Now that the plans for our expansion in North America have been finalized, we’re poised to announce an addition to our line of aircraft. OMF Aviation is looking towards a bright future and here is the taking off point. We are particularly happy about the choice of Trois-Rivières for our new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. This expansion demonstrates our commitment to general aviation and our desire to better serve the North American market, where about 75% of the global sales in our business sector are concentrated."
The new 30,000 square foot facility will include 25,000 square feet for manufacturing and 5,000 square feet of office space, which should be operational in September 2003. Three additional 25,000 square foot construction phases are planned. When completed, the facility will employ 300 people and sell its products in North and Central America.
"Trois-Rivières won out over 12 other North American sites that were lined up to get this general aviation project, said mayor Yves Lévesque. The regional capital’s modern, well-equipped airport, including a 6,000 foot runway, and the presence of subcontractors already partnering with companies in the aerospace and transportion sectors, swung OMF management in our favour. Another important factor was that the municipality agreed to invest in the construction of the building that will house OMF and give it a 20-year lease."
According to François Chagnon, "a large part of SGF’s investment will be used to purchase equipment to produce and assemble the single-engine aircraft. Our participation will also help speed up the development of OMF’s product line, obtain certification for the new aircraft and intensify the marketing of its models in the NAFTA market. These latter contributions will not wait for the startup of the new plant".
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which regulates this industry in the United States, a significant portion of the current fleet of 154,000 piston single-engine aircraft is aging – the average age is 30 years – and will have to be replaced soon. The FAA also expects an increase of 11,000 units in the total number of these aircraft over the next ten years.
The 160 Symphony, which will be produced in Trois-Rivières, is a two-seater aircraft that has been certified by civil aviation authorities in several countries, including the United States, Germany and Chili. The process of obtaining Canadian certification has already begun.
"The 160 Symphony is a rugged, powerful aircraft that is easy to fly and very competitive price-wise. We expect to sell 300 of the 160 Symphony and related products each year over the next five years", said Mathias Stinnes.