GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) has completed its acquisition of Milestone Aviation Group, the Dublin-based helicopter lessor, for $1.8bn plus Milestone’s debt.
The deal marks GECAS’ intent to enter the helicopter market, which it says represents a fast-growing sector in aviation leasing.
“The acquisition of Milestone is a key part of our growth strategy for 2015 and beyond,” said Norman Liu, president and CEO of GECAS.
Milestone, which was founded in 2010 by NetJets' executive Richard Santulli, has a fleet of 178 helicopters worth $3bn, plus orders and options for 121 aircraft worth an estimated $2.7bn.
Milestone will continue to operate under the same name and with the same management team. Santulli will serve as chairman of the helicopter leasing business and will become an officer of GE.
Milestone’s president, Daniel Rosenthal, and its founding executives, John Burns, Robert Thor Dranitzke, Matthew Harris and Walter Horsting will continue in their current roles.
Milestone had been owned by a consortium led by The Jordan Company. Bank of America Merrill Lynch provided financial advice to Milestone, and Mayer Brown and Clifford Chance served as Milestone's legal advisors.