Cabin-management and entertainment system specialist IEC International has been acquired in a management buyout led by sales and marketing v-p Chris Nicholls. The UK company will now trade as IEC In-flight Systems and will focus largely on the business-aviation sector, while also remaining in the airline market. IEC intends to move its headquarters from Langley, near London Heathrow Airport, to Farnborough Airport.
CHC Helicopter, the world’s largest provider of helicopter services to the offshore oil and gas industry, is being sold for $3.7 billion in what company officials describe as “the largest oilfield services buyout ever.”
The buyer is First Reserve, a Greenwich, Conn.-based private-equity company. In addition to $1.46 billion in cash, the firm will assume $1.48 billion in aircraft liabilities and about $779 million in debt.
It is AIN’s normal approach to report the news without comment.
Rockwell Collins, known primarily for its avionics products, will enter the simulator market by acquiring NLX Holding from Arlington Capital Partners, a Washington, D.C. private-equity firm. NLX, based in Sterling, Va., builds civil and military simulators and has provided business aircraft simulators to SimuFlite and Pan Am International Flight Academy.
Sentient, a leading provider of business aircraft transportation through membership block charter, was purchased last month from CSFB Private Equity by TH Lee Putnam Ventures, a New York-based private equity firm. Sentient claims more than 1,400 aircraft available from among its approved charter aircraft providers. Participants in its Private Jet Membership purchase TravelCards valued at $100,000, $250,000 and $500,000, respectively.
Adam Aircraft Industries reported the closing of a “significant investment” by GS Capital Partners 2000, a private equity fund managed by the prestigious Goldman Sachs–where Adam CEO Rick Adam was formerly a general partner.
VLJ air-taxi start-up DayJet of Delray Beach, Fla., announced today that it had secured $140 million in debt financing, which it will use to buy its fleet of Eclipse 500s. Previous rounds of private-equity financing had raised $68 million, bringing total financing to $208 million. DayJet founder and CEO Ed Iacobucci said last month at a seminar in New York that raising money for the company has been the hardest thing he’s had to do.
European private equity firm Bridgepoint has acquired Global Design Technologies from Stirling Square Capital Partners in a transaction worth $343 million. GDT makes permanent couplings used to connect hydraulic, fuel, air and other tubing in all types of aircraft.
EMS provider Air Evac Lifeteam, founded in West Plains, Mo., in 1985, has new owners, including two private-equity firms. “The decision to sell was not an easy one,” said board chairman Bill Chritton. “Initially, we had no desire to sell. The company is strong, healthy and presents a bright and expanding future.”
EBITDA stands for “earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.” In the acquisition world, businesses are valued by a multiple of their EBITDA. The buzz lately is that FBOs are popular among some aggressive private equity funds, and that has led to sales on the order of eight or nine times EBITDA–a rising trend that many say cannot continue.