In a detailed press release under the brief title of “Business Update”, Babcock International Group not only reaffirmed the sale of their offshore business, but also indicated that all aerial emergency services businesses are under review. The company admitted that the Avincis acquisition in 2014 has not delivered shareholder value with low returns on high amounts of invested capital, including “we are reviewing our options for the each of the aerial emergency services businesses”. That would include EMS and Firefighting contracts at least, and possibly SAR too, although the latter may fall into the category of “naval business” which they are keen to retain.
Babcock operates helicopters on EMS contracts in UK, France, Italy, Australia, Sweden, Spain and Portugal, and Firefighting contracts in Spain. Other more peripheral operations include marine pilot and Customs contracts in Australia, wind farm and police contracts in the UK, border patrol in Australia and a paused attempt at a scheduled passenger service in Spain.
The Group is targeting net proceeds of at least £400 million over the next twelve months from their planned disposals. Several businesses are currently being reviewed as disposal candidates and three processes are currently underway to test the market, although they did not go as far as saying whether any helicopter operations were involved.
The group’s key ethos will remain on being “an international aerospace, defence and security company with a leading naval business and providing value add services across the UK, France, Canada, Australia and South Africa”.