Stirling Square invests €40M in Omni Helicopters

Stirling Square invests €40M in Omni Helicopters

29-Nov-2011 Source: Stirling Square

Stirling Square Capital Partners [“Stirling Square”], the pan-European private equity firm focused on transformational cross-border transactions, today announced a €40m growth capital investment into Portugal-based Omni Helicopters International S.A. [“Omni” or “the Company”].

Based in Lisbon, Omni is the helicopter services specialist that was recently de-merged from the broader aviation group Omni Aviação SGPS S.A.; it owns a fleet of medium- and heavy-lift helicopters servicing the oil & gas industry and emergency medical transportation services.  The Company’s helicopter fleet is operated by its Brazilian affiliate Omni Taxi Aéreo S.A. [“Omni Brazil”], the country’s second largest oil & gas helicopter services operator with 40 aircraft under management.  Brazil has one of the fastest-growing oil & gas markets in the world, particularly offshore, and Omni Brazil is the fastest-growing local operator, with five-year CAGRs to 2010 in fleet, revenues and flown hours of 46%, 64% and 41% respectively.

Based in Rio de Janeiro, Omni Brazil deploys mission-critical services in the transportation of personnel and equipment from onshore bases to offshore platforms and other installations as well as in emergency medical evacuations. The business operates its own pilot training academy and maintenance centres and is a best-practice operator with a lifetime accident-free record and average aircraft availability of 92% over the past five years. It is also the only operator in the country to be accredited with ISO-9001, ISO-14001, OSHAS-18001 and NBR-16001.

The investment is the fifth from Stirling Square’s Second Fund and capitalises on the private equity firm’s unique capabilities in complex cross-border transactions.  Alongside Stirling Square are two prominent Brazilian co-investors, Salim and Eugenio Mattar, who have partnered with the firm’s founding partners in a previous transaction. Together, the investors will provide financial and institutional support to achieve the growth targeted by Omni in the future.  Omni Brazil expects to expand its managed fleet by more than 40% in the next five years, in alignment with Brazil’s offshore oil & gas development programme.

Stirling Square and the Brazilian co-investors will work closely with the Company’s management to grow the business through investment in new helicopters, further enhancements to Omni’s operating excellence and the development of associated corporate architectures to enable the growth projected.  Additionally, Stirling Square will support the pursuit of Omni’s international expansion plans.

Gregorio Napoleone, Partner at Stirling Square, said: “This complex transaction capitalises on our unique capabilities and represents a perfect fit with Stirling Square’s investment strategy, which focuses on promoting transformational change and superior value creation at companies characterised by defensible business models and talented management teams.  We are enthusiastic at the prospect of partnering with Omni Helicopters International’s entrepreneurial managers and look forward to supporting them in their ambitious growth plans.”

Stefano Bonfiglio, Partner at Stirling Square, said: “This investment represents an opportunity to partner up again with prominent entrepreneurs, Salim and Eugenio Mattar, with whom we have worked successfully in the past in the development of one of the most profitable and fastest growing car rental companies in the world, Brazil-based Localiza Rent a Car (SAO: RENT3).  We look forward to replicating such value creation with Omni Helicopters International in a similar context.”

Salim and Eugenio Mattar, co-investors in Omni, said “We are delighted to support the continued development of Omni Brazil and to offer our experience in growing capital-intensive businesses profitably, and are confident in the future success of this excellent business platform and experienced management team.  Given the scale and importance of oil & gas investment in Brazil in future years, there is high potential for an operator with the exceptional characteristics of Omni Brazil.”

Cdt. Rui Faria de Almeida, Executive Chairman and co-founder of Omni Helicopters International and Omni Brazil, said “What we have achieved to date is a testimony to the quality and motivation of our managers, pilots, mechanics and ground staff.  This is an important day for our companies as we welcome new, like-minded partners to support us in our future expansion with capital and capabilities that are complementary to those of our talented team.”

About Stirling Square Capital Partners
Stirling Square Capital Partners is a private equity firm which invests in mid-market companies with enterprise values of between €50m and €500m.  The firm manages two funds, totaling €735m capital under management and has made sixteen investments since it was established in 2003.

About Omni Helicopters International S.A.
Recently de-merged from the largest independent Portuguese aviation group Omni Aviação SGPS S.A., operator of more than 60 aircraft in the regional aviation, commercial charter and business aviation sectors, Omni Helicopters International manages a fleet of helicopters as well as investment participations in fleet operators servicing the oil and gas and emergency medical services sectors.

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