The business jet market in North America continues to recover, while in Western Europe it is “off the bottom,” UBS Global Research aerospace analysts noted yesterday. “Bizjet deliveries into North America have grown modestly in each of the last several years and we anticipate further improvement in [this region] driven by pent-up corporate replacement demand,” they said.
“We think a sustained recovery in business jet utilization is necessary to drive improvement in the new aircraft cycle,” UBS Investment Research aerospace analysts said in their latest business jet market update, released yesterday. “Without a recovery in utilization we still see the market as oversupplied.”
Engineering support specialist Babcock International has entered a conditional agreement to acquire the Avincis group, the parent company of operators Inaer, Bond, Australian Helicopters and Norsk Helikopterservice, for £920 million ($1.5 billion). Completion of the proposed acquisition, from a vehicle owned mainly by KKR and Investindustrial, is conditional on approval by Babcock shareholders and antitrust authorities. The actual transaction is expected to take place this year.
The private aircraft financing market in China has matured over the past several years with many sources of funding available for those wishing to purchase airplanes according to the experts here at ABACE. “I don’t think there is any lack of financing alternatives available,” said Jeffrey Lowe, general manager of aircraft ownership consultancy Asian Sky Group. “Pretty much all the international lenders are here and all the Chinese lender banks are involved in business aviation as well. A lot of them have set up leasing arms, so they are all diving in head first.”
Last week’s NBAA Flight Plan podcast offered aircraft operators headed for the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia a number of safety tips made even more important now that numerous security threats have surfaced. Some of the most valuable tips include what some might see as obvious reminders, such as having the right visa upon arrival. NBAA is also warning visitors to carry proper identification at all times, to keep a low profile while within the country and to tanker fuel when possible.
Helicopter operator Avincis Group and engineering support specialist Babcock International, both UK-based, are in discussions about establishing a joint venture. The talks are exclusive but there is no certainty they will lead to any transaction, the two companies pointed out. The British press has described the talks as a prelude to a likely takeover of Avincis, currently owned by KKR and Investindustrial, by Babcock. However, the two companies dismissed such stories as speculation.
New York investment banking behemoth Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) is placing a big bet on one helicopter services company supporting the offshore oil-and-gas industry. Last month KKR took a $200 million stake in Malaysia’s Weststar Aviation Services. Weststar provides offshore support to a variety of energy companies in the region, including Petronas Carigali, ExxonMobil, Carigali Hess, CPOC, Talisman, Petrofac, Newfield, Total, KPOC, Lundin, Schlumberger, Hess, Shell, Tullow Oil, Mubadala Petroleum, CGG Veritas and ConocoPhillips.
Ryanair said it will appeal Wednesday’s ruling by a provincial court in France that imposed fines and damages totaling €8 million ($10.8 million), the majority of which relate to alleged non-payment of French social insurance and state pension contributions for Ryanair crews flying to and from Marseille from 2007 to 2010.
UBS Investment Research’s latest Business Jet Market Index dropped to 39 from 41 in May. The index measures “total value” in a survey of 131 “U.S. domestic and international broker/dealers, manufacturers, fractional providers, financiers and others,” according to UBS. The majority, 63 percent, are brokers/dealers.
The survey doesn’t assess absolute business conditions but measures changes in respondents’ views. The index is near a four-year low, “and well below the 50 mark that is indicative of sequential improvement.”
Macquarie Group has sold Aviation Technical Services (ATS) to members of the current senior leadership team and a handful of experienced aerospace investors. The new ownership group is headed by current president and CEO, Matt Yerbic, and is backed by Wells Fargo, NewSpring Capital and Greenpoint Technologies of Kirkland, Wash.
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