DUBLIN, Ireland – January 30, 2015 – GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS), the aircraft leasing unit of GE (NYSE: GE), today announced it completed and closed its acquisition of Milestone Aviation Group, the Dublin-based helicopter lessor, for $1.775 billion plus the assumption or payoff of Milestone’s existing debt.
“The acquisition of Milestone is a key part of our growth strategy for 2015 and beyond as we add an experienced team and expand into a natural adjacency for us, helicopters,” said Norman Liu, president and chief executive officer.
The acquisition also is in line with GE Capital’s strategic plan of growing and enhancing value in core areas aligned with GE’s industrial domains including energy, aviation, oil & gas and healthcare, while reducing the overall size of GE Capital through the disposition of non-strategic assets.
Helicopter finance represents a fast-growing sector in aviation. Since Milestone’s founding in August 2010 by aviation and leasing industry veteran Richard T. Santulli and other members of the former NetJets executive management team, the company has quickly grown into a leading helicopter leasing company. Today, Milestone’s fleet includes 178 helicopters worth $3.0 billion as well as a strong forward order and option book of 121 firm and option aircraft with an estimated aggregate purchase price of $2.7 billion with a variety of helicopter manufacturers. The helicopters in Milestone’s fleet are used in a variety of industries, and are currently leased to 32 operators in 26 countries.
Santulli will serve as chairman of the helicopter leasing business and will become an officer of GE. Milestone president Daniel Rosenthal will serve as president of the business, which will continue to operate as “Milestone Aviation Group.” Fellow Milestone founding executives John Burns, Robert Thor Dranitzke, Matthew Harris and Walter Horsting will continue in their current roles, as will the rest of the Milestone team.
Milestone had been owned by a consortium led by The Jordan Company. Bank of America Merrill Lynch provided financial advice to Milestone, and Mayer Brown and Clifford Chance served as Milestone’s legal advisors.
About GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS)
GECAS, the U.S. and Irish commercial aircraft financing and leasing business of GE, has a fleet of approximately 1,600 owned and serviced aircraft with over 230 airlines. With 45+ years of industry experience, GECAS is recognized as the pre-eminent airline leasing company in the world, offering a wide range of aircraft types and financing options, including operating leases and secured debt financing. GECAS also provides an ever expanding array of productivity solutions including spare engine leasing, aviation consulting services, and spare parts financing and management. GECAS, a unit of GE Capital, has offices in 23 cities around the world, and services customers in 75+ countries. (www.GECAS.com)
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About Milestone Aviation Group
Milestone Aviation Group is the world’s leading helicopter leasing company. Since launching in August 2010, and as of December 31, 2014, Milestone has acquired a fleet of 178 helicopters worth US $3.0 billion and supports 31 operators in 25 countries on six continents. The company has a forward order book of 121 firm and option aircraft with an estimated aggregate purchase price of US $2.7 billion. These near-term delivery positions of in-demand helicopters are made available for lease globally. Milestone partners with helicopter operators worldwide and supports them through lease financing. The company provides financing for helicopters serving a variety of industries, including offshore oil and gas, search and rescue, emergency medical services, police surveillance, mining and other utility missions. Further information is available at www.milestoneaviation.com.
About The Jordan Company
The Jordan Company (www.thejordancompany.com), founded in 1982, is a middle-market private equity firm that manages funds with original capital commitments in excess of $8 billion with a 32-year track record of investing in and contributing to the growth of many businesses across a wide range of industries. The senior investment team has been investing together for over 20 years and they are supported by the Operations Management Group, which was established in 1988 to initiate and support operational improvements in portfolio companies. Headquartered in New York, The Jordan Company also has offices in Chicago and Shanghai.
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