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AEI to take off with Columbia
Posted on Friday, 19 July 2019 13:04
AE Industrial Partners (AEI) is expanding its aviation portfolio by acquiring US-based heavy-lift helicopter operator Columbia Helicopters.

No financials were disclosed, but the transaction is expected to close later this year.

Formed in 1957 and based in Oregon, Columbia provides lift services that can carry as much as 26,000 pounds of weight and be used to assist aerial firefighting, forestry, construction, as well as oil and gas-related projects.

The group comprises a fleet designed for heavy lifting, including the Columbia CH-47D Chinook and Columbia Model 234 UT Chinook, the latter of which has a fuel capacity of 3,785 litres and can cover a range of 260 kilometres.

Following the completion of the deal, the target’s chief executive, Steve Bandy, will remain in his role and majority stakeholder Nancy Lematta will continue to hold a significant ownership position within the business.

Established in 1998, AEI is a private equity firm which focuses on the aerospace, defence and government, power generation and speciality industrial markets.

It currently manages over USD 3.10 billion of equity capital and has USD 1.36 billion in equity commitments through AE Industrial Partners Fund II.

Bandy said the deal would help support the target’s growth strategy and the diversification of its business.

Kirk Konert, a principal of the buyer’s, also noted that the purchase would help Columbia expand into new markets and services.

The deal represents another acquisition within the aviation industry for AEI this year; in May it bought US-based Alpine Air Express, a logistics and transportation platform, for an undisclosed sum.

There have been 21 deals targeting scheduled freight air transportation companies announced worldwide since the beginning of 2018, according to Zephyr, the M&A database published by Bureau van Dijk.

Out of only three transactions to surpass the USD 100.00 million-barrier, the largest involved SF Holding, through its subsidiary Equal Wind, agreeing to pick up DHL Supply Chain (Hong Kong) for CNY 3.66 billion (USD 531.93 million).

© Zephus Ltd