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Helicopters Cambodia purchased

Helicopters Cambodia purchased

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A helicopter sporting the branding of Helicopters New Zealand sits on the tarmac.

Hopefully it will result in an upgrade of our business

A Canadian firm announced it will buy the parent company of Helicopters Cambodia for US$126 million, a move one company official hoped would result in an upgrade of the business.

Canadian Helicopters Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian Helicopters Group, negotiated a deal during last week with the ailing South Canterbury Finance for its Helicopters New Zealand subsidiary, which included its subordinate business Helicopters Cambodia.

Kevin Treloar, General Manager at Helicopters Cambodia, applauded the deal, saying his company now had access to CHL’s broad base of equipment and expertise, which included 122 helicopters and a flight training school.

That in turn could help to improve Helicopters Cambodia’s operations, he said.

“We’ll be exploring any opportunity, and hopefully it will result in an upgrade of our business,” he said, but adding that it’s “too early to tell” how those upgrades may play out.

Treloar also pointed to the “very positive synergies between the two groups,” namely their complementary seasonal operations and extensive histories as utility helicopter services companies.

CHL operates in Canada mainly between May and October, but now the company will extend its business throughout the year thanks to HNZ, which has bases in Australia, New Zealand, Cambodia and Laos, he said.

Both companies have been flying at least 50 years, according to their websites.

Canadian Helicopters President and Chief Executive Officer Don Wall called the acquisition a “transformational investment” for his company.

“Acquiring HNZ will assist in providing greater stability as it extends the arm of CHL’s existing operations in Canada, the United States and Afghanistan,” where it supports United States efforts there, he said in a statement.

“HNZ … will be a significant part of CHL’s growth plan as we look to the future,” he said.

HNZ owns 33 helicopters and serves a number of industries, including oil, mining exploration and tourism. In the twelve months ending December 31, 2010, the company earned NZ$28 million (US$22.1 million) before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation, according to a statement from CHL.

The sale comes as South Canterbury Finance sells assets as part of a receivership set up by the New Zealand government, which brokered a US$1.26 billion bailout for the lender back in August.

According to a statement from McGrathNicol, receivers of South Canterbury, CHL was selected “through a competitive sale process” that started after the receivership was established.

At the time the receivership was announced, Kevin Treloar said his company was unaffected.

Yesterday, he reiterated that point, saying that beyond the potential benefits of the deal he sees no downside for Helicopters Cambodia.

“It’s basically business as usual,” he said.

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