Shifting Helicopter Leasing Market: Waypoint Files for Bankruptcy Protection
2018-12-03 14:01 Monday
2018 marks a turning point for helicopter leasing in which the market is undergoing fundamental restructuring. In recent weeks the industry has seen a flurry of activity. Bristow acquired Columbia Helicopters for $560 million (its largest ever acquisition) and Jonathan Baliff, Bristow's CEO, announced his resignation.
In other developments, Helicopter lessor, Waypoint Leasing Holdings Ltd., backed by Michael Dell and George Soros, recently filed for bankruptcy protection and put its business on the auction block.
Waypoint's portfolio currently includes approximately 160 aircraft with a market value of $1.6 billion. The company's backers and investors include MSD Capital, Michael Dell's family investment firm; George Soros's Quantum Strategic Partners and private-equity firm Cartesian Capital Group, LLC.
Waypoint's helicopter business has been under pressure due to the slide in oil prices, which dropped from $67 to $50 per barrel in one month. Over the past 30 days, Bristow Group, the world's largest oil and gas helicopter service provider, has seen its stock price plummet from $11.45 to $4.27. Over the past year, the stock price of oil and gas service provider PHI has plunged from $13.95 to $4.62. Waypoint's chief executive, Hooman Yazhari, said the bankruptcy is "the next step" in the company's bid to restructure its balance sheet.
There is a lot of speculation about who will buy Waypoint, with Fortress Investment as the natural favorite. Fortress has a strong track-record in backing leasing companies – it launched Aircastle, an aircraft lessor listed on the NYSE in 2006.