AVIC Buys Thielert to Shift Company to Planes From Drones

Aviation Industry Corp. of China, the country’s biggest aerospace company, agreed to buy Thielert Aircraft Engines GmbH, focusing the insolvent German supplier fully on powering private aircraft and away from U.S. drones.

The Chinese manufacturer’s AVIC International Holding Ltd. unit, which has already acquired Minnesota-based planemaker Cirrus Aircraft and engine producer Continental Motors Inc. of Alabama, is adding Thielert’s civil engine business to prepare for a domestic boom in private aviation, Bruno Kuebler, Thielert’s insolvency administrator, said on a call with journalists.

The sale ends five years of insolvency proceedings and restructuring for Hamburg-based Thielert. Kuebler said Thielert remained profitable with three German sites and just over 200 employees because of orders mainly from San Diego-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. to power drones.

General Atomics indicated potential interest in Thielert, but AVIC offered a “‘strategic price’’ for the propeller-engine maker, Kuebler said, declining to provide details.

Thielert had 24.5 million euros ($32.3 million) in sales last year, the administrator said. The German manufacturer stands to benefit from growing demand in Asia and Africa for diesel-engine planes because of the wider availability of fuel, he said.

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