New York Times: G.E. Aircraft Unit Buys Helicopter Leasing Business

 

The aircraft leasing unit of General Electric announced on Monday that it would buy the Milestone Aviation Group, which leases helicopters, for $1.78 billion.

“The addition of Milestone will deepen our domain expertise in aviation and oil and gas, two critical G.E. industries,” Keith S. Sherin, the chief executive of GE Capital, said in a statement.

The acquisition of Milestone, which is based in Dublin, is in line with GE Capital’s strategy of focusing on industrial businesses including energy, aviation, oil and gas and health care, while reducing its overall size by shedding other assets, mostly related to consumer finance, the statement said.

Helicopter finance represents a fast-growing sector in aviation, according to the statement. Since Milestone was founded in August 2010 by Richard T. Santulli, a longtime aviation and leasing industry executive, and other members of the former NetJets executive management team, the company has grown into a leading helicopter leasing company.

Milestone’s fleet now includes 168 helicopters worth $2.8 billion as well as a strong forward order and option book of $3 billion with a variety of helicopter manufacturers, the statement said. The helicopters in Milestone’s fleet are primarily used in offshore oil and gas, search and rescue, emergency medical services and mining, as well as other industries, and are leased to 31 operators in 25 countries.

Mr. Santulli will serve as chairman of the helicopter leasing business and will become an officer of G.E.

The deal is expected to close next year.