Leonardo completes Kopter acquisition
Leonardo on April 8 announced the closing of its 100 per cent acquisition of Kopter Group AG (Kopter) from Lynwood (Schweiz). The purchase price, on a cash and debt free basis, consists of a US$185 million fixed component ($243.8 million in Canadian funds) plus an earn-out mechanism linked to certain milestones over the life of the program, starting from 2022.
Established in 2009 as Marenco Swiss Helicopter, the Swiss helicopter manufacturer in 2018 was rebranded as Kopter Group AG in 2018, removing its name association with founder Martin Stucki – principle of Martin Engineering and Consulting – who started the venture in 2007 in his family’s farmhouse.
Kopter in 2017 launched its new single-engine SH09 helicopter program, which made its first flight on November 22, 2018, from the company’s primary facility in Mollis, Switzerland. In December 2019, Kopter started flying the third SH09 prototype in Pozzallo, Sicily.
In announcing its acquisition of Kopter at Heli-Expo, Leonardo described the single-engine SH09 as a perfect fit for its product range, while also offering opportunities for future technological developments – pointing to hybrid/electrical propulsion solutions.
Leonardo states the acquisition will replace its planned investment aimed at developing a new single-engine helicopter. Within the Helicopter Division of Leonardo, Kopter is to operate as an autonomous legal entity and competence centre.
In March 2019, Kopter Group marked its full-scale entry into North America with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its new 84,700-square-foot facility at Lafayette Airport in Louisiana. In July 2018, the Swiss company had formed a U.S. subsidiary, Kopter North America LLC.
At the time, Kopter expected the Lafayette facility to create 120 jobs by 2025 for the annual production of around 100 aircraft, targeting assembly of its SH09 helicopters.