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Saturday, March 1, 2008

Heli-Expo Show Day: Heli-Mart Banks On MD Turnaround

R&W Staff

HELICOPTER PARTS PROVIDER HELI-Mart is banking on a turnaround for MD Helicopters and investing in its newly acquired completions center to support that change.

Costa Mesa, Calif.-based Heli-Mart last year bought a majority interest in Phoenix Heliparts, a completions center that specializes in MD products. Heli-Mart burst into the spotlight in late 2005 when it bought nine MD-520Ns from the Phoenix Police Dept. to boost its spares stock. The acquisition and expansion of Phoenix Heliparts positions it to benefit as MD’s sales pick up.

"We see potential turnaround," said Don Nichols, president of Heli-Mart. "I think they have a really good chance."

Heli-Mart claims to have the largest inventory of MD spares and also stocks a range of parts for other aircraft manufacturers. Phoenix Heliparts adds "a hands-on completions operation" to its portfolio, Nichols said.

Phoenix Heliparts specializes in single-engine MD completions. It already has done some partial completions work for MD, Nichols said, and has a potential MD-900 completion job in the works.

With the acquisition, Phoenix Heliparts relocated a half-mile north to Falcon Field in Mesa, Ariz. Its facility is 14,000 sq ft and can service 10 helicopters at once. The company is negotiating to lease 5 acres on the north side of the airport and build a hangar there. That facility would be much larger.

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