Future of Fokker likely to be decided later in week


FOKKER expects to find out this week whether Canada's Bombardier or South Korea's Samsung Aerospace will take part in a rescue operation for the ailing Dutch regional aircraft maker.

The company said last Wednesday it expected both Bombardier and Samsung to announce this week whether they were interested in taking over Fokker's core aircraft making operations. The talks have implications for Short Brothers, in Belfast, which makes wings for the Fokker 70 and the Fokker 100 jets and which is a subsidiary of Bombardier.

Both Bombardier and Samsung have been studying Fokker's accounts and manufacturing operations in recent weeks, having emerged as the most likely saviours for Fokker after majority shareholder Daimler Benz cut off financial aid on January 22nd.

Since then Fokker has been operating under court protection from its creditors with the aid of an emergency credit line of 255 million guilders guaranteed by the Dutch government.

Fokker said last week it expected to have used less than 100 million guilders of this by the end of March and would seek an extension of the credit facility beyond that date if there was a serious chance of selling the plane making operations.

In the worst case, Fokker admitted last week that it would have to abandon the design and manufacture of aircraft altogether and become a mere service and maintenance company.