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GE Capital to acquire Milestone Aviation

Oct. 14, 2014, Stamford, Conn. - GE Capital Aviation Services has announced it has agreed to acquire Dublin-based helicopter lessor Milestone Aviation Group for $1.775 billion.


October 14, 2014
By Carey Fredericks

The acquisition is part of GE Capital’s strategic plan of increasing its focus on core areas aligned with the company’s industrial domains including energy, aviation, oil & gas and healthcare, while reducing the overall size of GE Capital through the sale of non-strategic assets.

Keith Sherin, Chairman & CEO of GE Capital said, “The Milestone acquisition is a great fit for GE – it combines GECAS’ global reach and 45+ years in leasing commercial jets with a fast-growing helicopter financing platform that will diversify our business and put our capital to work at good returns. The addition of Milestone will deepen our domain expertise in aviation and oil and gas, two critical GE industries.”

Milestone Aviation was founded in August 2010 by aviation and leasing industry veteran Richard Santulli and other members of the former NetJets executive management team.

Milestone’s fleet currently includes 168 helicopters worth $2.8 billion, as well as a forward order book of 131 firm and option aircraft with an estimated aggregate purchase price of $3 billion with a variety of helicopter manufacturers.

The helicopters in Milestone’s fleet are primarily used in offshore oil and gas, search and rescue, emergency medical services and mining, as well as other industries, and are currently leased to 31 operators in 25 countries.

Santulli will serve as chairman of the helicopter leasing business and will become an officer of GE. Milestone president Daniel Rosenthal will serve as president of the business, which will continue to operate as “Milestone Aviation Group.”

Other co-founding executives John Burns, Robert Thor Dranitzke and Matthew Harris and the rest of the Milestone team will continue in their current roles.

In a separate press release, GE’s Intelligent Platforms business said that it has received a $2.6 million order from BAE Systems Platforms and Services, a unit of BAE Systems plc, for a quantity of its latest generation 3U VPX COTS Rugged Systems that deliver High Performance Embedded Computing or HPEC capability.

The COTS Rugged Systems will be deployed as part of the U.S. Army’s Common Embedded Training Unit or CETU, and will be used on-board the Bradley Fighting Vehicle for training and simulation.

GE noted that its solution is notable for its small size, weight and power or SWaP characteristics, which means that it can provide all the functionality required within the confined environment of the Bradley vehicle.

The system is housed in a rugged, 5-slot enclosure and includes a GE 3U VPX single board computer that features an Intel Core i7 processor as well as a rugged graphics board that takes advantage of the performance of an NVIDIA 384-core ‘Kepler’ GPU.

GE noted that the graphics board is a result of its close working relationship with NVIDIA that has enabled GE to incorporate truly rugged technology rather than commercial/benign environment technology.

The GE Intelligent Platforms CRS-D5I-3VC1 Rugged COTS System, on which the CETU product is based, is a packaged, pre-validated 5-slot video processing, display and control computer system that is fully integrated and ready to be deployed.

GE noted that it allows the elimination of non-recurring engineering expense to lower program cost, while program risk is minimized due the fact that it is pre-configured and pre-tested.