Babcock completes disposal of emergency services to Ancala


Babcock International has completed the disposal of its aviation emergency service businesses in Iberia, Italy and the Nordics to Ancala Partners. The business has been renamed Avincis and John Boag appointed its CEO.

Avincis operates emergency medical services (EMS), firefighting and search & rescue (SAR) missions. They are typically provided under availability-based contracts with local and national governments. The businesses acquired by Ancala Partners are part of Babcock Mission Critical Systems, which was formed after the company acquired helicopter operator Avincis in 2014.

The business operates a fleet of more than 220 aircraft, of which about half are owned, across over 160 operating locations. The deal was sealed for €136.2m (about £120m), before completion adjustments and transaction costs. In addition to Boag’s appointment, Kim Gillis has been appointed head of the Avincis Advisory Board.

Lee Mellor, partner, Ancala said: “Avincis, formed through the carve out of certain aerial emergency service businesses from Babcock International, demonstrates Ancala’s ability to source and execute differentiated investment opportunities. We look forward to working with John, Kim and the Avincis team to continue the safe and reliable delivery of critical emergency aviation services to communities across Iberia, Italy and the Nordics.”

Boag said there were plans to improve and grow the business. “Avincis is the European benchmark in Search & Rescue, leaders in Firefighting and pioneers in Emergency Medical Services,” he said. “We will continue to provide our services with a strong focus on safety, operational excellence and efficiency, whilst seeking to harness new technologies.”

David Lockwood, CEO, Babcock said: “We’ve done what we said we’d do at the start of our turnaround: we’ve strengthened the balance sheet and reduced complexity. Around two-thirds of the group is now focused on defence, and we are well positioned for future growth opportunities in our core markets.” 

Babcock disposed of its offshore helicopter business to CHC, prompting the UK Competition and Mergers Authority (CMA) to order CHC to later sell the business. (The CMA ruled oil companies benefited from having four competitors and that losing one would significantly cut competition). In January CHC finalised the sale of Offshore Helicopter Services UK to the South African operator Ultimate Aviation Group.