Helicopter leasing company Milestone Aviation Group signaled its intention to offer stock to the public–an initial public offering (IPO)–yesterday in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. No date for the IPO has been set, nor has any valuation been placed on shares to be offered. Milestone was founded by former NetJets CEO and founder Richard Santulli in 2010 with an initial capitalization of $500 million. The company’s current fleet is valued at $2.2 billion and it has more than 145 helicopters on order worth $3.4 billion.
The manufacturer and operator of the S-64 Air-Crane raised $31.9 million from its long-awaited April initial public stock offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq exchange and narrowed its latest quarterly operating loss to $1.7 million. Erickson said its backlog is $207.9 million, and it expects to make deliveries representing $84 million of that total this year.
Aerospace firms have been doing a roaring trade here at the Paris Air Show, selling record volumes of aircraft, engines and all the associated systems and services that go with them. But, according to leading mergers and acquisitions specialists, they should be just as busy buying and selling each other since the industry recovery now presents the ideal combination of motive and opportunity.
Russian Helicopters postponed its offering of “ordinary shares and global depositary receipts” last month. Board member Andrei Reus said he believed “market participants will benefit from more time to reflect upon the true value and growth potential of the business.” When announced in April, the total size of the IPO was expected to exceed $500 million.
Billions of dollars worth of new corporate deals are set to be struck in the aerospace sector over the coming weeks, according to Michael Richter, managing director and co-head of Lazard's Aerospace & Defense Investment Banking Group. In part, these deals are being driven by tactical investment factors, such as the need for U.S.
Avinode and CharterX are joining forces to form what will be the executive charter market’s largest online portal. Avinode is buying out the CharterX shares for an undisclosed sum. The deal should be closed by early this month, at which point the two companies’ technical teams will start integrating the rival systems.
XOJet has secured $470 million in additional financing, including $100 million in equity and a “more flexible debt facility” of $370 million that allows for the purchase of either new or used aircraft. The financing was led by TPG, a Fort Worth-based private equity firm, and Aabar, an Abu Dhabi-based investment firm. XOJet plans to use the additional capital to expand its charter aircraft operations.
As the global economy churns, the aviation finance market holds its breath. A recent report from UK-based aviation analysis firm IBA Group predicts that financing will become even more difficult to secure as the year progresses, as lenders chart a cautious course through the turmoil.
The business aviation downturn will last at least another year or two but there is still plenty of room for good deal-making, according to financial advisors First Equity. Director of investment banking Brett Pogany told NBAA Convention News that new aircraft sales are being stifled by “negative factors” such as supply pressure from a strong pre-owned market.
Last year was not friendly to startup companies dreaming of producing airplanes, but there are glimmerings of hope for some. Financial issues, however, continue to dominate the agendas of companies like AASI, American Utilicraft, Phoenix Fanjet (Alberta Aerospace), VisionAire and others, while development of their respective aircraft takes a backseat.
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