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Fairchild Dornier Confirms Talks with Potential Investors

Difficulties with the financing of its project to develop a new family of regional aircraft have led Fairchild Dornier to talk with potential investors such as Boeing and Bombardier.

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Airplane construction at Boeing's plant in Renton, Washington

Fairchild Dornier, the privately owned German-US company, is finding it difficult to fund its ambitious project to develop a new family of regional aircraft, and it therefore confirmed at the weekend that it is in talks with potential investors.

Management board chairman Lou Harrington said the group is in the first phase of identifying a suitable strategic partner.

An advance report from Aviation Week magazine had said that Boeing Co., the world's biggest plane maker, was set to buy a "significant stake" in Fairchild Dornier. Other reports from industry insiders suggest that the German-US group is also in talks with Canadian aerospace and technology group Bombardier.

Both groups would have something to gain from a tie-up with Fairchild Dornier.

For Boeing, which is not yet represented in the market for regional jets, the German-US group would complement its product portfolio ideally. Bombardier, meanwhile, would stand to gain some control over a competitor.

A decline in sales in the wake of the post-September 11 crisis in the aviation industry has clearly hit Fairchild Dornier's financial reserves.

Private investment firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice owns a 74 percent stake in the company. The remainder is held by Allianz Capital Partners, a unit of German insurer Allianz AG.

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