Chopper firm flying higher after £20m MBO

PDG Helicopters worked on both the Skyfall and World War Z movies
PDG Helicopters worked on both the Skyfall and World War Z movies
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A HELICOPTER operator that has carried out work for James Bond blockbuster Skyfall and zombie apocalypse film World War Z has been sold in a management buyout worth more than £20 million.

The deal, backed by LDC – the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group – was led by PDG Helicopters chief executive Jerry Francis.

LDC has taken a majority stake in the Inverness-based firm, formed in 1995 by the merger of PLM Helicopters and Dollar Helicopters, with management holding a “substantial” minority interest.

As well as its movie and television work, PDG conducts aerial surveys on wind farms, railways and power lines, such as SSE’s Beauly to Denny overhead transmission link. Francis said: “As a clear leader in this market we look forward to consolidating on the success of the last 20 years. This investment will enable us to increase our fleet and have the capacity to service the growing market demand more effectively.”

Following the buyout, former Talisman Energy UK senior vice-president John Forrest has been appointed chairman of PDG. Jim Wilson, former investment manager of SSE Ventures, and LDC Scotland head Mark Kerr, who led the deal, have also joined the board.

The acquisition finance team at Lloyds, headed by Jimmy Williamson, provided a £15m funding package for the buyout.

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