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Babcock holds talks on Avincis deal

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Babcock holds talks on Avincis deal
Babcock has a dockyard at Rosyth as well as Devonport


Published: 2:27pm, 24th November 2013
Updated: 12:58am, 25th November 2013

Engineering services giant Babcock International is in talks over a tie up with the world's biggest helicopter operator in a deal reportedly worth up to £1.5 billion.

Babcock, which is involved in the construction of Britain's two new aircraft carriers, confirmed exclusive discussions to form a "joint venture" with Avincis, which provides air services from search and rescue to oil rig passenger transport across the world.

It is thought FTSE 100 Index-listed Babcock is looking to buy a significant stake in Avincis, while The Sunday Times reported plans for a takeover that would see it pay £1 billion and take on £500 million of debt.

Babcock said a deal with Avincis would help it expand in the UK and overseas, but stressed there was no certainty the talks would lead to a transaction.

Avincis is headquartered in London, but is owned by US private equity giant Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Italian buyout firm Investindustrial, which also owns Aston Martin.

It owns Bond Aviation Group, which has 23 sites across the UK, including an Aberdeen-based search and rescue service for corporates and air ambulance and police aviation division.

The group has fleets in 10 countries and nearly 3,000 employees.

Babcock has a 27,000-strong workforce and runs the Devonport and Rosyth dockyards.

It earns just over half its sales from the Ministry of Defence, but also maintains power grids and railway stations, as well as providing services to the nuclear power sector.

The group posted a 17% hike in half-year pre-tax profits to £141.7 million earlier this month, thanks to a 9% rise in revenues.

Babcock is part of a BAE Systems-led consortium working on the UK's new 65,000 tonne aircraft carriers and pieces together huge parts of the vessels at its Rosyth shipyard in Scotland.

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