Minority shareholders in Icon Aircraft, manufacturers of the A5 amphibious LSA, are suing the Chinese majority shareholders in a Delaware court to prevent technology being transferred to China.
The suit, lodged on 1 June, is being led by plaintiff Asset Management Company Venture Fund and defended by majority shareholder Shanghai Pudong Science and Technology Investment (PDSTI).
According to reports, the consortium of 35 shareholders–which is believed to include former Icon CEO Kirk Hawkins and former Boeing CEO Philip Condit–is accusing PDSTI of seizing management control of Icon then dismantling the company with the aim of transferring the intellectual property to China.
"Since becoming the controlling stockholder of Icon in 2017, PDSTI has disregarded its duties to minority shareholders, seized control of the management of the company, operated Icon as its own property, and systematically dismantled the company, thereby destroying the value of Icon and its shares, all in support of its goal to expropriate Icon’s intellectual property to China,” the lawsuit alleges.
The suit also accuses PDSTI of breaching their fiduciary duty to shareholders and misrepresenting itself as an investor when the plaintiffs believe they intended to strip Icon and set up a joint venture in China all along.
PDSTI is listed in China as a State-owned company, meaning that at least 50% of it is owned by the Chinese government.
Shanghai is also the home of Oxai Aircraft, which is developing the Skywave M2 amphibian, an aircraft set to compete with the Icon A5.