• GE Capital’s Aviation Financing Unit Expands Into Helicopter Leasing;
• Industry-Leading Milestone Team, Led by Richard T. Santulli, Joins GE.
“The Milestone acquisition is a great fit for GE it combines GECAS’ global reach and 45+ years in leasing commercial jets with a fast-growing helicopter financing platform that will diversify our business and put our capital to work at good returns,” said Keith Sherin, chairman & CEO, GE Capital. “The addition of Milestone will deepen our domain expertise in aviation and oil and gas, two critical GE industries,” Sherin added.
The acquisition is in line with GE Capital’s strategic plan of growing and enhancing value in core areas aligned with GE’s industrial domains including energy, aviation, oil & gas and healthcare, while reducing the overall size of GE Capital through the disposition of non-strategic assets such as the recently executed IPO and planned split-off of our North American Retail Finance business and the sale of our consumer banks in the Nordics.
Helicopter finance represents a fast-growing sector in aviation. Since Milestone’s founding in August 2010 by aviation and leasing industry veteran Richard T. Santulli and other members of the former NetJets executive management team, the company has quickly grown into a leading helicopter leasing company. Today, Milestone’s fleet includes 168 helicopters worth $2.8 billion as well as a strong forward order and option book of $3 billion with a variety of helicopter manufacturers. The helicopters in Milestone’s fleet are primarily used in offshore oil and gas, search and rescue, emergency medical services and mining, as well as other industries, and are currently leased to 31 operators in 25 countries.
“In joining GE Capital, Milestone will continue to operate as we always have committed to our customers and partners, nimble and entrepreneurial only with an enhanced ability to offer innovative product solutions in a variety of markets around the globe,” said Richard T. Santulli, chairman and CEO, Milestone Aviation Group. “Four years ago, Milestone pioneered a new industry by providing much-needed capital for high-quality helicopter operators around the world. Thanks to partners like The Jordan Company and Nautic Partners, who have been with us since day one, I am proud to say that our core values of service and commitment to customers and manufacturing partners are stronger than ever and will continue to strengthen going forward.”
Santulli will serve as chairman of the helicopter leasing business and will become an officer of GE. Milestone president Daniel Rosenthal will serve as president of the business, which will continue to operate as “Milestone Aviation Group.” Fellow Milestone co-founding executives John Burns, Robert Thor Dranitzke and Matthew Harris will continue in their current roles, as will the rest of the Milestone team.
“We look forward to working with GE, a clear market leader in multiple related spaces, to achieve new and even greater successes for our customers and partners,” said Rosenthal. “As part of GE, Milestone will continue to operate under the same operating approach and leadership team, only with the added benefit of GE’s resources and capital. We are proud of our team’s incredible accomplishments over these last four years and are thrilled at the knowledge that we’re only just getting started.”
“The Milestone management team is among the most experienced leadership team in aviation financing, having worked together to pioneer the concept of fractional jet ownership with the founding and development of NetJets, then moving on to the creation and phenomenal growth of Milestone. The knowledge and passion they bring to GE will help ensure the success of this business,” said Norm Liu, president & CEO, GECAS.
The transaction remains subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals, and is targeted to close in 2015.
About GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS)
GECAS, the U.S. and Irish commercial aircraft financing and leasing business of GE, has a fleet of approximately 1,600 owned and serviced aircraft with over 230 airlines. With 45+ years of industry experience, GECAS (GECAS.com) is recognized as the pre-eminent airline leasing company in the world, offering a wide range of aircraft types and financing options, including operating leases and secured debt financing. GECAS also provides an ever expanding array of productivity solutions including spare engine leasing, aviation consulting services, and spare parts financing and management. GECAS, a unit of GE Capital, has offices in 23 cities around the world, and services customers in 75+ countries.
GE (ge.com) works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works.
Milestone Aviation Group (milestoneaviation.com) is the world’s leading helicopter leasing company. Since launching in August 2010, and as of September 30, 2014, Milestone has acquired a fleet of 168 helicopters worth US $2.8 billion and supports 31 operators in 25 countries on six continents. The company has a forward order book of 131 firm and option aircraft with an estimated aggregate purchase price of US $3.0 billion. These near-term delivery positions of in-demand helicopters are made available for lease globally. Milestone partners with helicopter operators worldwide and supports them through lease financing. The company provides financing for helicopters serving a variety of industries, including offshore oil and gas, search and rescue, emergency medical services, police surveillance, mining and other utility missions.
Caution Concerning Forward-Looking Statements
This document contains “forward-looking statements” that is, statements related to future, not past, events. In this context, forward-looking statements often address our expected future business and financial performance and financial condition, and often contain words such as “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “plan,” “believe,” “seek,” “see,” “will,” or “would.” Forward-looking statements by their nature address matters that are, to different degrees, uncertain. For us, particular uncertainties that could cause our actual results to be materially different than those expressed in our forward-looking statements include: current economic and financial conditions, including volatility in interest and exchange rates, commodity and equity prices and the value of financial assets; potential market disruptions or other impacts arising in the United States or Europe from developments in sovereign debt situations; the impact of conditions in the financial and credit markets on the availability and cost of General Electric Capital Corporation’s (GECC) funding and on our ability to reduce GECC’s asset levels as planned; the impact of conditions in the housing market and unemployment rates on the level of commercial and consumer credit defaults; pending and future mortgage securitization claims and litigation in connection with WMC, which may affect our estimates of liability, including possible loss estimates; our ability to maintain our current credit rating and the impact on our funding costs and competitive position if we do not do so; the adequacy of our cash flows and earnings and other conditions which may affect our ability to pay our quarterly dividend at the planned level or to repurchase shares at planned levels; GECC’s ability to pay dividends to GE at the planned level, which may be affected by GECC's cash flows and earnings, financial services regulation and oversight, and other factors; our ability to convert pre-order commitments/wins into orders; the price we realize on orders since commitments/wins are stated at list prices; the level of demand and financial performance of the major industries we serve, including, without limitation, air and rail transportation, power generation, oil and gas production, real estate and healthcare; the impact of regulation and regulatory, investigative and legal proceedings and legal compliance risks, including the impact of financial services regulation; our capital allocation plans, as such plans may change including with respect to the timing and size of share repurchases, acquisitions, joint ventures, dispositions and other strategic actions; our success in completing announced transactions and integrating acquired businesses; adverse market conditions, timing of and ability to obtain required bank regulatory approvals, or other factors relating to us or Synchrony Financial could prevent us from completing the Synchrony IPO and split-off as planned; our ability to complete the proposed transactions and alliances with Alstom and realize anticipated earnings and savings; the impact of potential information technology or data security breaches; and numerous other matters of national, regional and global scale, including those of a political, economic, business and competitive nature. These uncertainties may cause our actual future results to be materially different than those expressed in our forward-looking statements. We do not undertake to update our forward-looking statements.
This document includes certain forward-looking projected financial information that is based on current estimates and forecasts. Actual results could differ materially.
Contacts: Sue Bishop - GE Capital
P: 203-750-5362 / 203-253-2735 (mobile)
Milestone Aviation Group: Lauren Norelli - Vice President Strategy
P: 614-233-2332 - E: lnorelli[.]milestoneaviation.com.
Eric Berman / Nathan Riggs - of Kekst and Company
P: 212-521-4898 / 212-521-4804
E: eric-berman[.]kekst.com / nathan-riggs[.]kekst.com.