Patriot Aerospace Group buys most of British International Helicopters

Alasdair Whyte

Mobeus Equity Partners, a UK equity firm, has sold the major operating subsidiary of British International Helicopter (BIH) to Patriot Aerospace Group.

Patriot has acquired BIH’s two UK Ministry of Defence helicopter contracts – one in Plymouth, on the south coast of England transporting sailors and supplies to ships, and the other in the Falkland Islands.

Mobeus still owns shares in one British International helicopter (which will be sold when its long-term lease ends) and some property. It acquired the helicopter operator in a second buyout from 3i in 2006. Mobeus has now realised £6 million ($9.4 million) about twice its original investment.

“BIH is an excellent example of a committed management team reacting to a deteriorating trading environment, adapting its strategy and working extremely hard to produce an outcome which has delivered a good return to stakeholders and preserved employment in a sale to a significant UK operator,” says Mike Walker, Partner, Mobeus.

As well as military and energy contracts, BIH used to operate a scheduled helicopter passenger service between Penzance, in Cornwall, and the Isles of Scilly. This stopped being profitable several years ago and in August 2012 it stopped operating the route and sold its helipad. The sale of the helipad also paid off all of the company’s debt.