Town Hall: Milestone Aviation ‘completed 65 transactions in 2020’
“We completed 65 transactions in 2020,” Sebastien Moulin, head of Europe & Americas at Milestone Aviation Group, told Helicopter Investor’s Town Hall online meeting. Most notably, the lessor was the first customer for the Airbus H160 – adding six units to its orderbooks late last year.
“The fundamentals of the business have been holding,” said Moulin. “The asset class we are in, helicopters, these are mission critical aircraft and service has been continuing despite the crisis.”
Moulin addressed the progress in various sectors, starting with oil and gas. “No doubt, the oil demand has been affected. Some of the projects we had anticipated to come online have been delayed or cancelled.”
However, he said flight hours returned to pre-Covid-19 levels from the summer to the end of the year. “That’s incredible work that the operators and end users have done.
“The diversification we have been focussing on for the past five years – 60% oil and gas and 40% other segments – was the right choice. And this has allowed us to continue being committed to and investing in this space.”
In 2021, exploration projects on oil and gas are likely to come back online, if we are pragmatic and look at the signs for the sector so far, said Moulin. “I don’t think anyone can say exactly when. But we have seen some positive signs and we expect those to be hopefully in late 2021.”
Moulin is confident that Milestone will be able to adapt to its customers’ needs, as it did last year, when activity picks up. “Last year we have demonstrated that we could be creative in supporting customers such as Caverton Helicopters, not only bringing Sikorsky S92s into their fleet but also financed their entry into service.”
The company will continue financing the Airbus H225 fleet amongst other efforts to maintain its fundamental assets.
EMS will remain a strong segment for Milestone, said Moulin. It will also be keeping an eye on windfarms and renewable energy, having already placed some light twin aircraft and medium helicopters in the space.
Another speaker, Steve Robertson, principal and founder of Air & Sea Analytics, said the offshore wind power generation industry was “a positive story” for the helicopter sector. A report by his company said this would create demand for 126 units, valued at about $1bn, by 2030.
Moulin is also optimistic about other sectors for investment. “We have recently done a very good deal with NHV and the German army with military training.”
Helicopter Investor’s Town Hall online meeting took place on January 28th and was sponsored by Aero Asset.