NHV and Blueway to merge

Creating a new top tier player in the Helicopter Services industry

Ostend, Stavanger, August 28th 2014. NHV and Blueway are pleased to announce that they have signed a merger agreement to create a new top-tier player in the helicopter services industry. Following this transaction, NHV will buy Blueway’s stakes owned by Reiten & Co Capital Partners and Helicopter Transportation Group. The proposed transaction is conditional on receipt of required regulatory approvals, and other customary closing conditions.


NHV and Blueway have striking similarities in activities: strategic presence in the North Sea and West Africa with a focus on the offshore industry and a shared customer base.
Over the last few years, we have formed strategic alliances including: shared hangar facilities in Norwich and Den Helder. These joint efforts have proven to be valuable for both companies. The combination of the two helicopter operators will lead to a strategically better position in the market.


The new group will form a large European-owned helicopter company with approximately 650 employees in several countries across the globe with a combined turnover of more than USD 270 million in 2013.


Our focus for the near future is to maintain and extend our customer base around the North Sea (Norway, Denmark, The Netherlands, Belgium, UK), in France, as well in Africa, starting from our existing bases (Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria).
Our group operates a diverse fleet of 59 helicopters in total (EC225, AS332L2, AS332C, AW139, EC155B1, AS365, EC145, MD Explorer, and AS350) with a solid order book of 19 helicopters (1 EC225, 16 EC175, 2AW139) for the coming 3 years.


Eric Van Hal, CEO and co-shareholder of NHV, says:
“We are very pleased to welcome the people of Blueway to our Group. We decided to partner with Blueway as we have been impressed by their commitment to the customers, industry knowledge and experience. We also share a common set of values and ambitions. Joining forces with Blueway provides us with a large and robust platform for our further expansion. Our goal is to serve our global customers in the safest, most reliable manner, and affording them the flexibility and human approach they deserve. This in combination with our order book of 16 next-generation EC175 will accelerate our plans to achieve our ambition of top tier player in our industry. Ardian’s support and expertise have been greatly beneficial to NHV and will help accelerate our plans to achieve our ambition of becoming a leader in our industry.”
 

CEO of Blueway, Johnny Skoglund says:
“This is a major milestone in Blueway’s near 30-year-long history. Through our complimentary geographical presence, increased scale and innovative cultures, we can become the additional top-tier player which our customers have been searching for. Our customers and partners will benefit from the additional flexibility and commitment of both companies to safety, reliability and compliance to the most stringent standards.”

For further questions please contact:
CEO of NHV, Eric Van Hal, ericvanhal@nhv.be, +32 59 306 168
CEO of Blueway, Johnny Skoglund, johnny.skoglund@blueway.no, +47 417 23 000

About NHV
NHV Group, based in Ostend, Belgium, is specialized in B-to-B aviation services and has strong geographic presence with 360 employees across 15 bases on two continents, with a solid track record of rapid international expansion and a leading position in Western Africa (Ghana). NHV operates according to the highest industry safety standards and is the fastest growing challenger company in the global market segments of Oil & Gas, Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (“HEMS”) and Maritime Services, which include Search and Rescue (“SAR”), offshore Wind Farms and Harbor Pilot Services. Besides that NHV is an Approved Training Organisation (ATO).
NHV has a multipurpose high value fleet of 26 helicopters with an average age of 7.5 years. In 2013, NHV record turnover of close to €90 million, increasing organic growth by 34% on the previous year. NHV’s majority shareholder is Ardian. NHV has ordered 16 helicopters of the state-of-the-art Airbus Helicopters EC175 model and is the global launching customer and the first operator to receive the EC175 later this year.

About Blueway
Blueway has been delivering helicopter services since 1986. In the beginning the company was operated under the Airlift-brand, and in 2006 the Blueway Group was established. Blueway had by year end 2013 277 employees, turnover of approx. € 120 million, owns 23 helicopters and operated a fleet of 33 helicopters with three new helicopters to be delivered in 2014/2015. The companies various businesses operate under the following brands: DanCopter A/S, Blueway Offshore Norge AS, Vertech Offshore As and Airlift AS.
Blueway Offshore and Norge and DanCopter delivers offshore crew change services in the North Sea and selected locations world-wide. Vertech Offshore is the market leader in flare tip replacement by helicopter on offshore installations globally. Airlift is the leading supplier in Norway of power grid construction and maintenance services. Airlift is also a leading supplier of people transport, services to the telecom industry, construction, avalanche safety and power plant construction sites.
Blueway has been owned by Reiten & Co Capital Partner VI LP (60,4 %) and Helicopter Transportation Group AS (39,6 %).
For questions related to the seller, please contact:
Chairman of Blueway, Aage Krog, aage.krog@grouphtg.no, +47 900 23 694

About Ardian
Ardian, founded in 1996 and led by Dominique Senequier, is a premium independent private investment company with assets of US$47bn managed or advised in Europe, North America and Asia. The company, which is majority-owned by its employees, keeps entrepreneurship at its heart and delivers investment performance to its global investors while fuelling growth in economies across the world. Ardian’s investment process embodies three values: excellence, loyalty and entrepreneurship. Ardian maintains a truly global network, with more than 330 employees working through ten offices in Paris, London, New York, Beijing, Frankfurt, Jersey, Luxembourg, Milan, Singapore and Zurich. The company offers its 300 investors a diversified choice of funds covering the full range of asset classes, including Fund of Funds (primary, early secondary and secondary), Direct Funds including Infrastructure, Expansion, Mid Cap Buyout, Ardian Croissance, Co-Investment and Private Debt.