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Beechcraft to acquire Raytheon subsidiary

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

BOSTON – Defense contractor Raytheon Co. plans to sell its aircraft business for $3.3 billion to Hawker Beechcraft Corp., a new company formed by an affiliate of Goldman Sachs and Onex Partners.

The sale will have little effect on Raytheon Missile Systems, a Tucson-based subsidiary and southern Arizona’s largest employer.

The world’s fifth-largest defense contractor said Thursday it expects to pocket $2.5 billion after taxes from the sale of the Wichita, Kan.-based unit that makes Hawker and Beechcraft planes for commercial and military markets. The business has more than 8,500 employees and about 100 centers worldwide.

The deal included facilities and other assets in Little Rock, Ark., Dallas and two sites in Kansas, and the company’s maintenance, service and support network across the United States, United Kingdom and Mexico, Raytheon Chief Financial Officer David Wajsgras said on a conference call.

The aircraft division to be sold makes Beechcraft single-engine, two- and four-seat planes and Hawker midsize, twin-engine corporate jets. The planes compete with foreign companies including Canada-based Bombardier Aerospace and Brazil-based Embraer.

The sale of Raytheon Aircraft is part of the company’s strategy to focus on its core government and defense business, Raytheon Chairman and Chief Executive William H. Swanson said.

Raytheon’s shares slipped 4 cents to close at $53.82 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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