AE Industrial to buy Columbia Helicopters

AE Industrial Partners LP said July 18 that it agreed to buy Columbia Helicopters. Financial terms weren’t announced. Nancy Lematta, the majority owner, is retaining a stake. Columbia, of Aurora, Oregon, provides heavy-lift rotorcraft services with manufacturing and MRO capabilities.


AE Industrial Partners to Acquire Columbia Helicopters
Boca Raton, FL– July 18, 2019 – AE Industrial Partners, LP (“AEI”), a private equity firm specializing in Aerospace, Defense & Government Services, Power Generation, and Specialty Industrial markets, announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Columbia Helicopters (“Columbia” or the “Company”), a leading provider of heavy-lift rotorcraft services with extensive manufacturing and MRO capabilities. Columbia’s CEO Steve Bandy will remain in his role, while majority owner Nancy Lematta will retain a significant ownership position in the Company. Terms of the transaction, which is expected to close later this year, are not being disclosed.
Columbia Helicopters is a leading owner and provider of heavy-lift rotorcraft, manufacturing, and MRO services to a variety of end markets including military support, firefighting, and on-shore oil & gas. Columbia is known for its industry-leading reliability, safety, and innovation. Founded in 1957 by industry pioneer Wes Lematta and based in Aurora, Oregon, Columbia holds many aviation authorizations, including a Department of Defense (DoD) Commercial Airlift Review Board (CARB) certification, which allows the Company to perform outsourced military transport, among other mission-critical operations.
“This is an exciting new phase of evolution for Columbia,” said Mr. Bandy. “We have always taken pride in our dedicated people and how they deliver inspired solutions to our customers. This new partnership supports our vision of growth and diversification. With AEI’s support and experience, Columbia’s commitment to safety and operational excellence and, above all else, our people—we are positioned for even greater success well into the future.”
“Columbia is a clear industry leader with a storied history, offering a unique and differentiated platform, and a strong track record of best-in-class aviation services,” said Kirk Konert, a Principal at AEI. “AEI is excited to support the Company, as we believe there is a significant opportunity to build on the capabilities that Columbia has developed over the last 60 years, and expand into new markets and services. With the support of Columbia’s outstanding management team, we look forward to helping the Company take the next step in its evolution.”
Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal advisor, Rothschild & Co. served as financing advisor, and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP served as financial advisor to AEI. Tonkon Torp LLP served as legal advisor and Greenhill & Co., LLC served as financial advisor to Columbia.

About Columbia Helicopters
Columbia Helicopters is the global leader in heavy-lift helicopter operations and trusted expert in maintenance, repair, and overhaul services. The company owns, operates, and maintains a fleet of Columbia Model 107-II Vertol, Columbia Model 234 Chinook, and Columbia Model CH-47D Chinook helicopters. These aircraft are operated around the world, providing passenger and cargo services to customers across various end-markets. In addition, Columbia Helicopters supports commercial and government operators with a comprehensive range of responsive life-cycle support and MRO services, from tip to tail, in the hangar or in the field maintenance. The Company holds a Type and Production Certificate for the Columbia Model 107-II Vertol and 234 Chinook, and a Type Certificate for the Columbia Model CH-47D Chinook. Columbia Helicopters is a factory-authorized service center for the Honeywell T55-714 and a NAVAIR-approved MRO facility. For more information, please or contact
About AE Industrial Partners
AE Industrial Partners is a private equity firm specializing in Aerospace, Defense & Government Services, Power Generation, and Specialty Industrial markets. AE Industrial Partners invests in market-leading companies that can benefit from our deep industry knowledge, operating experience, and relationships throughout our target markets. Learn more at