Crown supports Canadian Helicopters buy with $8 mln loan

Canadian specialty finance firm Crown Capital Partners has supplied an $8 million term loan to Canadian Helicopters Ltd, a provider of helicopter transportation and related support services based in Les Cèdres, Québec. The loan supported the purchase of the company’s onshore operations by President and CEO Don Wall. The buy, wrapped up last month, saw HNZ Group Inc, Canadian Helicopters’ parent organization, taken private and split between two buyers. Founded in 1947, Canadian Helicopters today has a network of 11 fixed bases and owns and operates 91 light, medium, and heavy lift helicopters.

PRESS RELEASE

Crown Capital Partners Announces $8.0 Million Term Loan with Canadian Helicopters Limited

CALGARY, December 29, 2017 – Crown Capital Partners Inc. (“Crown” or “the Corporation”) (TSX: CRWN), which provides growth capital to successful mid-market companies, today announced the closing of a $8.0 million term loan (the “Agreement”) with Canadian Helicopters Limited (“Canadian Helicopters”), which is part of the HNZ Group of Companies (“HNZ”) (TSX: HNZ), an international provider of helicopter transportation and related support services.

Canadian Helicopters is the largest helicopter transportation services company in Canada with a network of 11 strategically located fixed bases to support operations throughout the country. Canadian Helicopters owns and operates 91 light, medium, and heavy lift helicopters. In addition to charter services, Canadian Helicopters provides flight training and helicopter repair and maintenance services. Its customers include the US Department of Defense (North Warning System), Canadian Department of National Defense, Federal Government of Canada, Nova Scotia Department of Health and Bell Helicopter.

On October 31, 2017, HNZ and PHI, Inc. (“PHI”) announced they have entered into an arrangement agreement pursuant to which Don Wall, HNZ’s President and CEO, will acquire all the issued and outstanding shares of HNZ. As part of the arrangement, PHI will acquire the portion of HNZ’s offshore business conducted in New Zealand, Australia, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea, and Don Wall will retain Canadian Helicopters (the onshore operations). Total onshore revenues for the three- and nine-month periods ended September 30, 2017 were $29.2 million and $57.4 million, respectively.

“We’re pleased to support Don and his team in the acquisition of Canadian Helicopters,” said Chris Johnson, Crown’s President & CEO. “This is a very well-established operation with a solid reputation for safety and quality of service. The business is underpinned by multi-year contracts with blue-chip clients and a large fleet of owned helicopters. Going forward, the company is well positioned to benefit from improving commodity markets and an increase in the usage of helicopters for disaster relief efforts.”

“Crown’s financing solution was the ideal complement to our senior facility,” said Don Wall, President & CEO of Canadian Helicopters. “The Crown team understood our business quickly and was able to get us a commitment in less than two weeks.”

The Agreement provides for a $8.0 million term loan to Canadian Helicopters by Crown Capital Fund IV, LP, an investment fund managed by Crown and in which Crown holds a 36.5% interest. The term loan bears a fixed interest rate of 10% per annum, matures in 60 months, and includes a bonus feature based on the growth in Canadian Helicopters’ enterprise value. Canadian Helicopters has also arranged for a $75.0 million, 3-year senior credit facility led by Canadian Western Bank.

ABOUT CROWN

Crown (TSX: CRWN) is a specialty finance company focused on providing capital to successful Canadian and select U.S. companies that are unwilling or unable to obtain suitable financing from traditional capital providers such as banks and private equity funds. Crown also manages capital pools, including some in which Crown has a direct ownership interest. Crown originates, structures and provides tailored special situation and long-term financing solutions to a diversified group of private and public mid-market companies in the form of loans, royalties and other structures with minimal or no ownership dilution.

For further information: Craig Armitage, Investor Relations, craig.armitage@crowncapital.ca, (416) 347-8954

Photo courtesy of Canadian Helicopters Ltd