PARIS, Oct 4 (Reuters) - French engineering group Geci International's Sky Aircraft unit was placed under creditor protection on Thursday, giving it six months to find partners to save the project.
Geci said following the ruling by the commercial court at Briey in eastern France it would use the time to pursue all the options it was exploring to safeguard the future of the Skylander light aircraft.
"Management and the company are mobilised to seek financing solutions and to assure a future for the Skylander programme as well as all its staff," Geci said in a statement.
The Skylander is designed to carry up to 19 passengers or 2.7 tonnes of cargo and serve small airlines and specialists such as FedEx Corp , as well as conduct surveillance.
Geci's shares have been suspended since June 7.
Geci has been looking at new ways to finance the Skylander programme, including long-term private investors and support from other companies. A report commissioned by the French government concluded in April that it needed 70 million euros ($90 million) more than originally planned.
The government has pledged 60 million euros of aid, partly via the FSI strategic investment fund, provided Sky Aircraft can find an industrial partner.
The government released 1.8 million euros of funds for the company on Wednesday, Socialist member of parliament Yves Le Deaut told Reuters, adding: "It's a good industrial project."
The company added that it won permission from the court to delay publication of its 2011-12 accounts until Dec. 31.
($1 = 0.7751 euros)
(Reporting by Gilbert Reilhac; Editing by David Holmes)
Keywords: GECI SKYAIRCRAFT/PROTECTION