Rotorcraft Update: Keystone allies with investment group

 - May 15, 2008, 9:47 AM

Pledging to build already successful long-time central Atlantic coast helicopter support and repair operation Keystone Helicopter into a $350 million business, Keystone Ranger Holdings’ CEO Steve Townes addressed Keystone staffers, founders and well-wishers at a recent “closing dinner” held at the American Helicopter Museum near Keystone’s headquarters in West Chester, Pa., near Philadelphia. Describing Ranger’s friendly takeover of Keystone as a mirror of the sort of corporate consolidations that have swept the offshore-oil helicopter industry in recent years, “such as Air Log’s takeover from Bristow, or CHC’s buyout of Helikopter Service,” Townes predicted that this trend would continue through the world of onshore helicopter operations. The cash injection, along with a line of equity amounting to some $75- to $80 million, will allow a Ranger-led hunt for more undervalued companies in both the realms of fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft to continue. Stock swaps and settlements that were part of the deal left several Keystone executives in excellent financial health. No layoffs or staff trimming are expected and president Peter Wright Jr., son of founder Peter Wright Sr., will retain his post as president, while his brother Tim will stay on as v-p of customer relations. Among its many functions, Keystone is the factory-authorized completion center for Sikorsky S-76s.