Columbia Helicopters is being sold to private-equity firm AE Industrial Partners (AEI), the companies announced today. Columbia CEO Steve Bandy will remain in his role, while majority owner Nancy Lematta will retain a "significant ownership position" in the company. Terms of the transaction, which is expected to close later this year, are not being disclosed. The sale announcement comes five months after now-bankrupt Bristow Group terminated a deal to acquire Columbia for $560 million.
For the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 2018, Columbia posted revenues of $281 million and earnings before interest taxes and depreciation (EBITDA) of $117 million. Columbia is based in Aurora, Oregon, and was founded by the late Wes Lematta in 1957. The company specializes in helicopter MRO and heavy-lift operations with tandem-rotor helicopters with a diversified fleet of 21 Vertol 107-II, Boeing 234, and CH-47D helicopters for missions that include military support, firefighting, and on-shore oil and gas.
“This is an exciting new phase of evolution for Columbia,” said Bandy. “We have always taken pride in our dedicated people and how they deliver inspired solutions to our customers. This new partnership supports our vision of growth and diversification. With AEI’s support and experience, Columbia’s commitment to safety and operational excellence and, above all else, our people—we are positioned for even greater success well into the future.”