Abu Dhabi-based investment firm Aabar Investments is investing a further $20 million in charter provider XOJet. The move came just four months after XOJet secured $470 million in additional funding from a group led by TPG, a Fort Worth-based private equity firm, and Aabar. Meanwhile, Aabar and XOjet said they plan to form a joint venture in the UAE to provide aviation services in the Middle East and North Africa.
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.
Directional Capital, an investment firm led by Flight Options chairman and founder Kenn Ricci, private-equity firm Resilience Capital Partners and “key members” of the Flight Options management team, has made an additional investment in fractional provider Flight Options. HIG Capital, which acquired the Cleveland-based company in November 2007, remains a minority investor.
Directional Capital and Resilience Capital Partners have increased their financial stake in fractional-share operator Flight Options and now own a majority of the company. Members of Flight Options’ management team also participated in the new investment. Directional Capital is headed by Kenn Ricci, chairman of Flight Options and also the company’s founder.
Clearwater, Fla.-based fractional provider Avantair saw its year-over-year revenues climb nearly 24 percent to $35.4 million in its second fiscal quarter, which ended December 31. It also narrowed its quarterly loss to $600,000, down 87 percent from the same period a year earlier.
By the end of next month, JetDirect Aviation expects to close a deal with a private-equity firm “with significant private aviation experience” that will see the charter/management company backed by a new control investor, according to a letter sent to JetDirect clients last week. This follows JetDirect’s selling its three FBOs and unwinding recent acquisitions by selling Presidential Jets and Sunset Aviation back to their original owners.
Explorer Aircraft of Jasper, Texas, which showed its proof-of-concept aircraft, configured as a 500T with a single Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-135B, at Oshkosh, is still looking for investment money, according to Don Joseph, president. With the economy picking up and venture capital firms starting to invest in promising businesses, Joseph said he’s seeing increasing interest, but nothing firm yet.
Piper announced on July 21 that American Capital Strategies, a minority (about 2 percent) shareholder in the company since 1998, has acquired 94 percent of the Vero Beach, Fla.-based manufacturer’s voting equity. The announcement followed word on July 15 that ACS had secured Piper’s bank debt for approximately $75 million.
“We’re pretty much heads down and focused on obtaining investment capital,” Jonathan Sumner, marketing director of Farnborough Aircraft, told AIN last month. Speaking during a break in discussions with potential investors in New York–his third trip to the Big Apple for this purpose in two months–he said, “The response has been positive and very striking.
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.