PHI acquires HNZ’s offshore business in Pacific

PHI, Inc. is to acquire HNZ Group’s offshore business in New Zealand, Australia, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea, greatly expanding the Lafayette, Louisiana-based company’s international presence.

HNZ is to continue its North American offshore operations, but has sold its offshore operations in the Pacific to PHI, Inc. Previously, PHI and HNZ provided offshore helicopter services under a joint venture in which PHI supplied Sikorsky S-92 helicopters. Mike Reyno Photo
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The arrangement, announced Oct. 31, will see HNZ president and CEO Don Wall purchase all HNZ’s common and voting shares for C$18.70 a share (valuing the company at C$242.4 million), with PHI then acquiring HNZ’s Pacific operations from Wall. HNZ, headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, will continue its operations in North America and Antarctica.

“This transaction provides significant value and liquidity for our shareholders, as well as continuity and opportunity for our employees,” said Wall in a press release announcing the move. “I look forward to continuing the operations of the corporation in Canada, the U.S. and Antarctica, where we will continue our brand as a well-known and respected industry participant, with an excellent safety record and reputation for providing performance excellence, innovative thinking and efficient customer service.”

PHI and HNZ have recent history together. In December 2016, they announced the formation of a joint venture – PHI HNZ Australia PTY Limited – to service offshore facilities owned by Ichthys Project with five Sikorsky S-92s out of Broome, Western Australia. Operations on the five-year contract began on April 1, 2017.

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“This acquisition is an important part of our plan to diversify our services and international footprint,” said Al Gonsoulin, chairman and CEO of PHI, Inc. “It is rare to be able to acquire a segment of a company with whom you have such a strong working relationship as well as deep professional and personal regard. Together, PHI and HNZ bring a unique approach and skill to the discerning international customer. We look forward to what this will mean for our company and for those we serve.”

HNZ previously operated a global fleet of over 115 helicopter to support offshore and onshore charter activities, with about 600 employees working from 36 locations around the world.

Before the acquisition, PHI had a fleet of over 230 aircraft in over 85 locations around the world, working in service to the offshore oil-and-gas industry, as well as in air medical operations, and technical service applications. The company has operated in 43 countries and employs about 2,300 people.

The boards of HNZ and PHI have unanimously approved the arrangement, but is still contingent on shareholder and court approval.

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