Babcock to buy Spanish helicopter transport services firm Avincis for $1.5 bn

British defence support and engineering services group Babcock International today struck a deal to buy Spanish helicopter transport services firm Avincis from PE firm KKR & Co and the Investindustrial Group for £920 million ($1.5 billion).

Babcock to buy Spanish helicopter transport services firm Avincis for $1.5 bnBabcock would also assume £705 million of Avincis's net debt taking the total deal value to about $2.76 billion.

The London-based company intends to fund the acquisition through a £1.1 billion rights issue.

Avincis is a leading provider of helicopter and fixed wing services in mission-critical operations such as medical, search and rescue, fire-fighting and civil protection in Europe and a leading supplier of offshore crew-change helicopter services to the oil and gas industry in the UK sector of the North Sea, and expects to expand its operations in the growing Norwegian and Australian offshore oil and gas markets.

Its total fleet comprises 343 aircraft, operating from more than 200 operational bases and is a market leader in helicopter and fixed wing emergency services in Europe and No 3 in offshore oil and gas in UK.

Headquartered in the UK, Avincis operates in eight countries, employs more than 2,800 people and has an order book of approximately €2.3 billion as at 31 December 2013 and an identified total pipeline of opportunities of approximately €7 billion as at 10 March 2014.

For Babcock, the deal complements services it provides to governments and to large companies and fits its strategy to provide specialty technical services that are ''critical, complex and bespoke,'' the company said.

''Babcock is a great strategic and cultural fit for Avincis,'' said James Drummond, CEO of Avincis. ''Joining forces with Babcock will allow the strengthened group to access new markets and customers, and build on an already impressive order intake.''

Babcock, the third-largest based in the UK after BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce is the country's leading engineering support services company with revenue of over £3.2 billion in 2013 and an order book of £12 billion.

The 120 year-old company operates in the defence, energy, telecommunications, transport and education sectors.