Erickson Air-Crane to acquire Brazilian company

Erickson Air-Crane said today it is moving forward in its acquisition of a Brazilian aerial services firm that does business in South and Central America gas and oil fields.

The heavy-lift helicopter company, whose primary manufacturing and maintenance complex is on Willow Springs Road in Central Point, said it would pay HRT Participaes em Petroleo, headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, between $65 million and $75 million by the time the deal for Air Amazonia aerial services closes in the second quarter. The binding term sheet replaces a non-binding letter of intent of Sept. 14, 2012.

President and Chief Executive Officer Udo Rieder called the transaction a milestone for Erickson Air-Crane as it expand into the fast-growing Latin America oil and gas markets

"Our experience in that market has brought us non-seasonal, profitable revenue streams and illustrated significant expansion opportunities," Rieder said in a statement.

Under terms of the agreement, Erickson will have a three-year aerial services contract with HRT, receiving approximately $50 million annually. There is also an option for three additional years.

At present, Erickson operates a fleet of 18 S-64 Aircranes. The deal will add 14 rotary-wing aircraft, including five Bell 212s, seven Sikorsky S-61s, and two Helibras AS350s. The HRT contract will only require a portion of Air Amazonia's fleet, Erickson said, leaving significant capacity to be used to grow the company's business with other customers in the region and elsewhere.

Separately, Erickson said it has secured a credit line of $165 million from a bank syndicate led by Wells Fargo Bank consisting of a $115 million term loan and a revolving line of up to $50 million. Its current credit agreement consists of a $65 million term loan and a revolving line of up to $67.5 million.

Erickson said it will repay $15 million on subordinated notes, and to finance corporate development — including the HRT deal — with its news line.

— Greg Stiles

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