Butler National looks at cost cuts and possible layoffs

Butler National Corp. plans to cut expenses in its aerospace business, possibly through layoffs, after reporting its first sustained losses in more than a decade.

President and chief executive Clark Stewart said Thursday that he and chairman Warren Wagoner had taken immediate 40 percent pay cuts. Combined, they earned $738,391 in salary during the company’s most recent fiscal year.

A company statement said others also may see pay cuts.

“We would rather everybody take a pay reduction if we needed to than have to lay them off,” Stewart said. “We don’t want to give up the technical skills.”

Butler National said it is looking for other cost savings. Stewart said some of the pressure to cut costs had eased recently. Business has picked up and a few employees have left voluntary.

No employees have been laid off, he said. Butler employs about 100 people modifying, repairing, maintaining and overhauling aircraft at its operations in Newton, Kan.; Olathe; and Tempe, Ariz.

Butler shares closed Thursday at 15.6 cents, down 1.3 cents.

Money saved by cutting costs will be used to research and develop new products, particularly in the commercial side of its aerospace business. The company has said it expects cuts in the business it does under military contracts and from international customers.

In March, Butler reported a $755,000 loss in its first quarter, which led to the first nine-month loss at the company since 2001. Revenues had fallen, notably by 36 percent from its aerospace work in the first quarter.

Butler also provides management services to businesses, for example by operating gaming casinos.

Last month, the company completed the sale of its waste water monitoring business, for which it will receive $270,000 over five years.