The helicopters ferrying workers to and from Newfoundland and Labrador’s offshore oilfields will soon have a new owner, if the bank and regulators sign off.
Bristow has reached an agreement with VIH Aviation Group Ltd., the parent company of Cougar Helicopters, to pick up a minority interest in Cougar “and certain aircraft and facilities used by Cougar in its operations,” according to a statement issued this morning by Bristow.
Specifically, Bristow’s buy includes eight Sikorsky S-92 helicopters and its passenger, maintenance and SAR facilities in both St. John’s and Halifax.
The aircraft will then be leased by Bristow back to Cougar “on a long-term basis,” the statement reads.
The owner of VIH Aviation Group, Kenneth Norie, will continue to act as chairman and CEO of Cougar.
"We are very pleased to have Bristow as a significant investor in Cougar, as we have similar corporate cultures and core values, especially our commitment to safety,” Norie said.
“I believe that this relationship will enhance the services Cougar provides to our customers and positions Cougar for the next phase of its growth."
Cougar has 250 employees and $124 million of revenue in the last fiscal year.
"This investment represents an excellent opportunity for Bristow to gain exposure to an attractive, dynamic and growing Canadian exploration and production market,” stated the president and CEO of Bristow, William Chiles.
Bristow will spend $250 million, “with a three-year earn-out of up to an additional $40 million based upon Cougar achieving agreed performance targets,” states the release.
The acquisition is subject to approval by the Canadian Transportation Agency. Bristow hopes to have the deal done by the end of 2012.