DART Aerospace sold to private-equity backed buyer 


DART Aerospace, an aftermarket parts provider operating as a subsidiary of Eagle Copters, has been sold to private-equity firm Greenbriar Equity Group and First Aviation Services. 

The acquisition signals First Aviation’s first foray into the helicopter market. Previously, the firm has supplied fixed-wing aftermarket parts. 

Terms of the deal have not been disclosed. However, First Aviation’s disclosed acquisition criteria stipulate that it only buy firms worth up to $500 million and with a gross margin potential greater than 25%. 

Perhaps the latter figure motivated a private-equity firm such as Greenbriar, which manages over $3.5 billion of assets, to invest in the helicopter market. 

Given the stresses that oil-and-gas helicopter operators are under at the moment – with PHI filing for bankruptcy and increasing speculation that others may soon follow – Greenbriar’s decision to snap up DART might be seen as a sign of confidence in the helicopter market overall. However, Helicopter Investor  understands that the fact that DART focussed on other areas such as cargo and shied away from the oil-and-gas helicopter market made it an attractive option.  

“DART is well recognized in the industry for its engineering-led culture of innovation and success developing critical aftermarket and OEM components to support customers worldwide. We look forward to supporting DART’s world-class management team and employees during this next chapter of the company’s growth,” says Noah Roy, managing partner, Greenbriar.

DART’s current management team will continue to lead the firm and it will continue to operate from its existing worldwide facility network. 

“We would like to thank Eagle Copters and Era for their continuous support throughout these years. We are excited about this new relationship with Greenbriar and First Aviation. They are both experienced investors in the aerospace industry and we are confident that their capital and expertise will play a crucial role in supporting DART as we continue to grow and expand our markets and capabilities,” says Alain Madore, president and chief, DART. 

Houlihan Lokey served as financial adviser to Era and Eagle Copters.