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Halifax-based IMP Group buys Cascade Aerospace

Nov. 12, 2012, Abbotsford, B.C. - The proposed takeover of one of British Columbia’s largest aerospace companies will create a stronger entity capable of increasing Canada’s participation in the international aerospace sector, according to the proponents.


November 12, 2012
By The Vancouver Sun

Halifax-based IMP Group announced this week a deal with Cascade
Aerospace to buy the B.C. company, which employs 650 people and operates
out of facilities at Abbotsford International Airport.

 

The deal would see Cascade join IMP’s Aerospace & Defence division.

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Conair
Aviation, also based in Abbotsford, is the erstwhile owner of Cascade.
IMP and Conair are Canadian-owned and privately held, so no financial
details are available. The deal requires federal approval to proceed.

 

Cascade
is Abbotsford International Airport’s primary commercial tenant, and is
certified to work on both Boeing and Lockheed Martin aircraft.

 

Cascade
is one of only two Lockheed-Martin heavy maintenance centres in the
world for the Hercules C130 military transport aircraft.

 

IMP, meanwhile, provides support services to the Canadian armed forces Cormorant search and rescue helicopter fleet.

 

“We’d
like to grow the company,” IMP Aerospace & Defence CEO David Gossen
said in a phone interview from Halifax on Friday.

 

“That’s the objective
and I don’t say that facetiously. I say that with complete sincerity.

 

“We’d
like to help them expand their international footprint, looking for
Hercules opportunities or other aircraft opportunities around the world.

 

“I
know whenever there’s an acquisition there’s always uncertainty with
the employee workforce. But I will be doing everything I can to assure
the workforce we’re committed to the company. They’ve done a great job
since their formation and want to do everything we can to move them
along.”

 

Gossen noted that IMP has a 40-year history of “supporting
militaries in Canada and around the world. We’re 1,800 people. I think
we’ve done a lot of good things well.”

 

IMP’s existing West Coast
links include maintenance for the Canadian Forces fleet of Cormorant
helicopters at CFB Comox, and it also operates Pacific Avionics based at
Vancouver International Airport.

 

Other Cascade customers
including the Department of National Defence, Bombardier, Rockwell
Collins, WestJet, Xstrata and Viking, as well as original equipment
manufacturers and governments.

 

Services include fleet management,
in-service support, aircraft modification, engineering support and
maintenance, repair and overhaul.

 

IMP operates in a variety of
sectors including aviation, health care, information, property
development and tourism, according to a release. The company employs
3,700 people.

 

IMP said “the acquisition also aligns with the
government of Canada’s objective of encouraging the development of a
world-class Canadian aerospace in-service support capability that can
compete in export markets.”

 

Cascade has been a leading proponent
of aerospace development in B.C., with CEO David Schellenberg serving as
a leading spokesman for the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada.
Last year Schellenberg told The Vancouver Sun editorial board that
B.C.’s aerospace industry anticipates “very significant” long term
demand for skilled workers in the manufacturing and maintenance sectors
in particular.

 

In B.C. the sector employs 10,000 people at 60 companies.

 

In an interview, Schellenberg said Conair believes the industry will continue to grow in B.C.

 

“Part
of the rationale for this deal is that by combining two strong
Canadian-owned companies we are going to be able to leverage growth into
the international marketplace,” Schellenberg said.

 

“We weren’t
looking to sell, but when IMP approached us with this idea about putting
two strong companies together, that operate in Canada in the aerospace
and defence sector with a view of growing internationally, we felt that
concept made some sense.

 

“As sort of a medium-sized company, it
can be difficult to grow in the international market space if you’re by
yourself. So our thought is that by combining with them we will have a
stronger base from which to do that.”