Ardian-backed NHV completes Blueway acquisition

Ardian-backed NHV has closed its buy of Oslo-based helicopter operator Blueway. No financial terms were disclosed.


December 22, 2014. NHV, the international helicopter operator, announces today that it has completed the acquisition of Blueway, making it one of the largest European helicopter transport operators.

As part of its drive to ramp up expansion and enable it to provide even more efficient services to its clients, NHV, supported by its majority shareholder Ardian and its founder and CEO, Eric van Hal, has, moreover, ordered 16 Airbus Helicopters EC175, and is the first operator of new generation helicopters the first two of which were delivered in December. These additions reaffirm NHV’s position as owning and operating one of the youngest, state-of-the-art and safe fleets in the industry.

The combined group is the only operator with a presence in all Oil and Gas producing countries in the North Sea region, as well as a leading position in West Africa. The combined group now employs around 650 people across the globe, with a combined turnover of more than $270 million.

Eric van Hal, CEO and co-shareholder of NHV, said: “Ardian’s support and expertise have already been greatly beneficial to NHV, and we are now seeing the advantages of working with a partner that has considerable experience in helping companies achieve internal and external their growth ambitions.”

Béatrice Beitmann, Managing Director Mid Cap Buyout at Ardian, added: “The way we have worked with NHV to structure the Blueway acquisition with a low level of leverage demonstrates how Ardian uses its experience to help its partners grow and take advantage of opportunities while ensuring responsible financing. We are delighted that the transaction is now completed, making NHV a leader in its industry.”

The various companies in the NHV Group are: NHV, DanCopter A/S, Blueway Offshore Norge AS, Vertech Offshore As and Airlift AS.

NHV Group, based in Ostend, Belgium, is specialized in B-to-B aviation services and has strong geographic presence in the North Sea, with a solid track record of rapid international expansion and a leading position in Western Africa (Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria). NHV, Blueway Offshore Norge and DanCopter delivers offshore crew change services in the North Sea and selected locations world-wide. In addition NHV also operates in the market segments of Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (“HEMS”) and Maritime Services, which include Search and Rescue (“SAR”), offshore Wind Turbines and Harbor Pilot Services. Vertech Offshore is the market leader in flare tip replacement by helicopter on offshore installations globally.

Airlift is the leading supplier in Norway of power grid construction and maintenance services. Airlift is also a leading supplier of people transport, services to the telecom industry, construction, avalanche safety and power plant construction sites. NHV Group operates a diverse fleet of 60 helicopters in total (EC225, AS332L2, AS332C, AW139, EC155B1, AS365, EC145, MD Explorer, and AS350) with a solid order book of 18 helicopters (16 EC175, 2AW139) for the coming 3 years.

Ardian, founded in 1996 and led by Dominique Senequier, is a premium independent private investment company with assets of US$50bn managed or advised in Europe, North America and Asia. The company, which is majority-owned by its employees, keeps entrepreneurship at its heart and delivers investment performance to its global investors while fuelling growth in economies across the world. Ardian’s investment process embodies three values: excellence, loyalty and entrepreneurship. Ardian maintains a truly global network, with more than 340 employees working through ten offices in Paris, London, New York, Beijing, Frankfurt, Jersey, Luxembourg, Milan, Singapore and Zurich. The company offers its 346 investors a diversified choice of funds covering the full range of asset classes, including Fund of Funds (primary, early secondary and secondary), Direct Funds including Infrastructure, Expansion, Mid Cap Buyout, Ardian Croissance, Co-Investment and Private Debt.