MONTREAL, June 1, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - HNZ Group Inc. (TSX: HNZ.A, HNZ.B) (the "Corporation"), an international provider of helicopter transportation and related support services, announced today it has acquired an interest in Norsk Helikopterservice AS ("NHS"), an offshore helicopter provider based in Stavanger, Norway through a combination of common shares,representing a 49.9% voting and equity interest in NHS, and convertible debt.
NHS's offshore operations provide crew transport to oil and gas customers within the Norwegian continental shelf. It currently operates one Sikorsky S-92 heavy aircraft in support of Lundin Petroleum's offshore facilities and performs ad hoc work for other oil and gas operators. NHS employs approximately 25 people and has leased offices and hangar space at Stavanger Airport. The company is progressing towards profitability as it continues to develop its capabilities, infrastructure and relationships with customers in the growing Norwegian offshore market.
As one of the largest offshore helicopter markets in the world, the Norwegian offshore market consists of approximately 60 aircraft operated by four helicopter companies (including NHS), and exclusively employs heavy aircraft due to the distances and environmental conditions involved. Oil and gas operators continue to invest in Norway and both new offshore production facilities and exploration campaigns are expected over the next five years. NHS is well positioned to benefit from this new activity and retendering opportunities from existing contracts.
"We are very pleased to be investing in NHS and in Norway," said Don Wall, President and Chief Executive Officer of HNZ Group. "We believe NHS is poised for significant growth in the coming years and are committed to complementing the strong leadership team and helicopter operations at NHS. The addition of HNZ's financial strength, technical expertise and economies of scale will assist in lowering NHS's cost structure and position the company for upcoming tender opportunities. Given the current market conditions, we are excited about the opportunity to gain exposure to the Norwegian offshore market and how this partnership will accelerate the implementation of HNZ's strategic plan," concluded Mr. Wall.
"We are excited to have HNZ as a partner in executing our growth strategy in Norway," said Bjorn Veum Seljevold, Chairman of NHS. "The investment from HNZ Group will strengthen our financial position and increase our competitiveness. Partnering with HNZ, a financially strong and disciplined offshore helicopter operator, will enhance our standing with customers as we prepare upcoming bids. We look forward to working with HNZ and moving our company to the next level of success."
The investment in NHS represents an aggregate cash considersation of NOK 25 million ($4.0 million) and will be funded by way of cash anda drawdown under HNZ's credit facility. The proceeds will be used to fund NHS's operations and expansion opportunities. The convertible debt, in the principal amount of NOK 8.4 million ($1.4 million), bears a fixed coupon at an annual rate of 5%, payable quarterly and is convertible into shares of NHS subject to certain conditions. HNZ's investment in NHS and Norway represents its first in the European market and complements its operations in North America and the Asia-Pacific region.
ABOUT HNZ GROUP INC.
HNZ Group is an international provider of helicopter transportation and related support services with operations in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Southeast Asia and Antarctica. The Corporation operates in excess of 120 helicopters to support offshore and onshore charter activities. Offshore operations worldwide are provided through HNZ Global while onshore charter operations are provided through Canadian Helicopters in Canada and HNZ Global in Asia-Pacific and Antarctica. Clients consist of multinational companies and government agencies including offshore and onshore oil and gas, mineral exploration, military support, hydro and utilities, forest management, construction, air ambulance and search and rescue. In addition to charter services, it provides third-party repair and maintenance services and flight training. HNZ Group is a publically traded company on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: HNZ.A, HNZ.B) and is headquartered near Montreal, Canada employing approximately 700 personnel from 34 locations around the world.
Certain statements in this press release may constitute "forward-looking" statements which involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Corporation, or industry results, to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Examples of such statements include, but are not limited to, information regarding the future prospects of NHS's business, financial and competitive position, potential cost synergies, the Norwegian offshore helicopter market (including future oil and gas production and exploration activities) and participation in future bidding processes.
Although the forward-looking statements contained in this press release are based upon what management of the Corporation believes are reasonable assumptions, the Corporation cannot assure investors that actual results will be consistent with these forward-looking statements. The assumptions on which the forward-looking statements are based include, but are not limited to, general economic trends, industry trends, current contractual and business relationships, capital markets and current competitive, governmental, regulatory and legal environment.
These statements are not based on historical facts but instead reflect current expectations of management regarding future events and operating performance and speak only as of the date of this press release. Forward-looking statements involve significant risks and uncertainties, should not be read as guarantees of future performance or results, and will not necessarily be accurate indications of whether or not such results will be achieved. A number of factors discussed in this press release could cause actual results to differ materially from the results discussed in the forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this press release, and the Corporation assumes no obligation to update or revise them to reflect new events or circumstances, unless required by applicable laws.
SOURCE HNZ Group Inc.
For further information: HNZ Group Inc.: Don Wall, President and Chief Executive Officer, Tel.: 780-429-6919, Tel.: 450-452-3007