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.
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts
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.
Avincis is the new name for World Helicopters, a firm that combined the Bond Aviation Group with Inaer when it took over the former last spring. The group, owned by KKR and Investindustrial, operates 400 aircraft, 350 of them helicopters.
Bond Aviation Group has been acquired by World Helicopters, a holding firm owned by Investindustrial and KKR. Bond and Spain’s Inaer now share the same parent company. According to a joint statement, Bond owners Peter and Stephen Bond have made “a substantial financial investment” in World Helicopters. The Bond brand “will continue,” as will the current senior management team.
Spain’s Inaer and UK-based Bond Aviation Group, two major helicopter operators in Europe, now have the same parent company–World Helicopters, a holding firm owned by Investindustrial and KKR. World Helicopters completed its acquisition of Bond this week.
The UK’s Bond Aviation Group, parent company of Bond Air Services and Bond Offshore Helicopters, has confirmed that it is in negotiations with investors, including Investindustrial and KKR, joint owners of Spain-based Inaer. Press reports had suggested Investindustrial and KKR were about to take over Bond but “these are still only negotiations,” Bond insisted.