Swedish UAV manufacturer `CybAero’ has filed for bankruptcy following its failure to sell 20 civilian drones to China which was expected boost the funding of the financially beleaguered firm.
The filings were made with the Nasdaq’s First North Sweden stock exchange on June 19 and show that the company had experienced significant declines in revenues, halting all trading in the company’s shares on June 15 due to CybAero’s uncertain financial position.
The company has scheduled an annual general meeting on 30 June when a new plan to rescue plan is likely to be announced. “I hope that CybAero will be rebuilt under the leadership of new owners after bankruptcy,” CybAero’s CEO Tommy Magnusson said in the filing.
CybAero was betting big on the China order but the Swedish government blocked the sale, reversing an earlier decision to grant CybAero clearance to export an unmanned helicopter system demonstrator to China.
According to reports in the Chinese media, the sale blockade was done at the behest of the United States which was concerned that Swedish drone technology would fall into the hands of Aviation Industries Corporation of China (AVIC), the Chinese consortium of aerospace research and manufacturing industries that was contracted to test the CybAero helicopter drone system as part of an option to purchase 20 units.
Earlier, the Dubai-based investment fund, `Bracknor’ had come to the financial rescue of CybAero by signing in a debt-refinancing deal to ease a critical working-capital burden to support product development, production and export operations.
The deal comprises a $5.25 million capital injection in the form of seven convertible loans to CybAero where each loan will vary in size from $850,000 to $650,000. `Subversive Capital’, a U.S.-headquartered venture capital firm had subscribed for 10 percent of all convertible loans and warrants endorsed by Bracknor. It is not clear if this deal went through and if it did, the impact on CybAero’s finances.
CybAero had last announced a potential contract in May 2018 regarding the supply of a RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft System) based surveillance system for the Thai Coast Guard. “CybAero has now qualified as one of the few final candidates for tendering in the government's public procurement,” the announcement had said.