PDG Helicopters management completes MBO

The management team at PDG Helicopters has completed a £20 million+ management buy-out (MBO) of the company. The MBO was backed by LDC, as PDG Helicopters looks to capitalise on growing demand for its services.

The deal sees LDC take a majority equity stake in the business with management investing alongside and holding a substantial minority stake.

The company, which is headquartered in Inverness in Scotland, provides specialist aerial support services across the UK and Ireland with a specific focus on supporting infrastructure and construction projects.

It was established in 1994 following a merger between PLM Helicopters and Dollar Helicopters and operates from bases in Inverness, Glasgow, Wolverhampton and Dublin. Recent projects include the upgrade of the Beauly to Denny power line.

The MBO is led by PDG CEO Jerry Francis, who has been with the business for almost 20 years.

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John Forrest will join the board as chairman with immediate effect. Forrest is former senior vice president of Talisman Energy UK. Jim Wilson joins as a non-executive director, also with immediate effect.

For the financial year ending September 2014, the group recorded sales of £16 million. The investment will be used to increase capacity and invest in the fleet to support the continued organic growth of the company.

“The deal illustrates our ongoing commitment to back Scottish businesses, and support the country’s leading management teams in achieving their long-term growth ambitions,” said Mark Kerr, Head of LDC Scotland, who joined the board at completion and led the deal said.

“Jerry and the rest of the PDG management team have done a great job over the last few years transforming PDG into the clear market leader in its field, providing principally a range of specialist inspection and construction related aerial services. It has the largest helicopter fleet of its kind in the UK and a national footprint differentiating it from many smaller players.

PDG will continue to operate from its bases across the UK and Ireland. The Acquisition Finance team at Lloyds Bank plc, led by Jimmy Williamson, has provided a £15 million funding package to PDG to facilitate the deal.

A short video filmed at the PDG Helipad serving The Open Golf at St. Andrews in 2010:

Terry Spruce

Terry is Senior News Editor and writes for both Corporate Jet Investor and Helicopter Investor. He is also responsible for our helicopter guides. Terry has been an aviation enthusiast since the early 1970s. He is a lapsed Private Pilot and ex-Piper Cherokee owner. He has flown a number of light aircraft and is comfortable sitting in the co-pilot's seat or the back of any aircraft. Before moving to journalism he was a banker for 20 years. You can contact him at: terry@corporatejetinvestor.com or follow him on twitter @Terry_Spruce

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