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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Erickson Shortens Name, Splits Into Divisions

—By Andrew Drwiega

Erickson S-64. Photo courtesy of Erickson
Erickson Air-Crane is now Erickson Incorporated, but has several divisions, announced Udo Rieder, the organization’s chief executive at a media briefing related to Heli-Expo. Following the acquisitions last year of Evergreen Helicopters and Air Amazonia, the company’s share price rose from $8 to $21 per share (a 163 percent growth). The group now comprises: Erickson Air Crane; Erickson Helicopters; Erickson Transport; Air Amazonia; Canadian Air Crane; European Air Crane; and Malaysian Air Crane.

“We were giving a lot of the market to light and medium helicopters as well as fixed-wing aircraft,” said Rieder, explaining the need to grow the organization. As a consequence Erickson’s fleet has expanded from 20 air-cranes to 90 diversified aircraft. Most of the divisions will fly a mix of aircraft.

“Prior to the acquisitions, over 50 percent of our revenues came from firefighting… and 95 percent of Evergreen’s revenue came from Department of Defense (DoD) work. Air Amazonia had 100 percent revenue from oil and gas, revealed Rieder.

Now, he said, the company had doubled its financial size from $200 million to $400 million in revenues. The total business today comprises around 30 percent DoD, firefighting/oil and gas around 25 percent each, with the remainder coming from commercial activities (including logging). He said the diversity meant that the company could better withstand up and down cycles in any particular sector.

The MRO side has also been strengthened, added Rieder. “We know how to maintain and manufacture legacy components. We are now the largest Bell 214ST operator and there is no reason why we shouldn’t be the largest provider of third-party maintenance for the Bell 214ST.” The new logo represents the new composite rotor blade system developed for the S-64. “It’s a multi-million dollar investment and we will start flying by the end of the year. It will give 10-15 percent improvement in lift capability and a decrease in MRO and manufacturing costs, and a 3-5 percent decrease in fuel burn,” confirmed Rieder.

Erickson is the type certificate holder not only for the S-64 but also has bought the type certificate for the Pratt & Whitney T73 engine used on the Air Crane and the intention is to have its engineers improve engine performance.

Rieder said that there were opportunities in the oil and gas sector “within Peru, Ecuador and domestically in Alaska.”

The European Air-Crane division supports four S-64s that are owned by the Italian government, but there are opportunities for expansion, according to Rieder. He said that aircraft operated in Africa and the Middle East could now go to Europe for their repair and overhaul. He also said that there were work opportunities in Switzerland as well as the more traditional firefighting markets of Spain and southern France.

 

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