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Transformational New Zealand deal for Canadian Helicopters

April 12, 2011  By Carey Fredericks

April 12, 2011, Montreal - Canadian Helicopters Group Inc. plans to buy New Zealand's largest helicopter owner and operator for $120 million in a deal the Montreal transportation services company called "transformational."

The purchase of Helicopters (N.Z.) Ltd., or HNZ, expands the Canadian company's presence to a part of the world where it sees future growth.

The deal Tuesday includes the shares of Helicopters (Australia) Pty Ltd. and other active subsidiary companies, as well as the assets of Helicopter Nominees Ltd.
The transaction will be funded from cash on had as well as bank debt, CHL said.

HNZ, based in Nelson, N.Z., is that country's largest helicopter owner with 55 years of operating history throughout New Zealand, Australia and Asia. It has 181 employees, a fleet of 33 helicopters and annual revenue of about C$62 million.

The company operates throughout New Zealand, Australia and Southeast Asia, and has more than 30 years of experience in Antarctica.


Its customers range from offshore oil and gas exploration companies and miners to governments, emergency services and the military.

Don Wall, president and chief executive of CHL, said Canada's largest helicopter services operator is pleased with the deal.

"The acquisition of HNZ represents a transformational investment for CHL and in a part of the world that complements CHL's activities in the Northern Hemisphere. Acquiring HNZ will assist in providing greater stability as it extends the arm of CHL's existing operations in Canada, the United States and Afghanistan."
"CHL believes that the transaction will create a number of achievable synergies, including with respect to insurance costs and the seasonal movement of helicopters to maximize utilization," the company added.

For Canadian Helicopters, the deal also broadens the company's revenue. For example, HNZ's Antarctic expedition and fire-related services are provided from December to April, a slow seasonal period for the Canadian company.

"HNZ has grown from a local New Zealand based company to an internationally respected operator involved in all aspects of helicopter operations." said HNZ's CEO Brian McDonald.

"We welcome the opportunity to continue to maintain our high level of quality services and continue to grow and enhance the business . . . in the future through Canadian Helicopters' ownership."

Canadian Helicopters Group Inc. is the largest helicopter transportation services company operating in Canada and one of the largest in the world.

The company serves emergency medical services, infrastructure maintenance programs, utilities, the oil and gas industry, the forestry, mining and construction industries.

It also operates two flight schools, provides third party repair and maintenance services in Canada and the United States and provides military support in Afghanistan.


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