New Delhi: Global Vectra Helicorp Ltd, India’s biggest helicopter charter company, will spend $103 million (Rs453.2 crore) to buy new helicopters in its biggest-ever expansion plan to meet rising demand for transportation to off-shore oil rigs.
Global Vectra will buy 11 helicopters in two years, said Ravinder Rishi, chairman of the company’s parent Vectra Group. It will buy five Eurocopters from European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. and six from Textron Inc.’s Bell Helicopter unit, he said. The company has a fleet of 18 Bell 412 helicopters now.
The company will borrow some of the funds needed for the 11 new helicopters, Rishi said.
The company raised Rs64.8 crore in an October initial public offering to fund its expansion plans.
Indian helicopter operators are placing more orders as Reliance Industries and Oil & Natural Gas Corporation and others step up exploration. Deccan Aviation, which operates India’s biggest low-fare airline, plans to buy more helicopters. Kingfisher Airlines will start a new helicopter unit.
“We are seeing a lot of demand as more deep-sea drilling is happening in India,” Rishi said last Thursday.
BP Plc, Total SA and other oil companies are increasing exploration in India. That’s spawning demand for helicopters as they are used to fly engineers to the off-shore rigs.
Oil companies may invest as much as $6 billion (Rs26,400 crore) in India, according to government estimates. The economic growth is also increasing the need for more services for corporate clients.
Deccan Aviation said this month it plans to separate its helicopter charter business into a new company to expand.
Kingfisher, owned by India’s biggest brewer, will start a helicopter charter service and is in talks with three companies, including Bell, to buy six helicopters, Vijay Mallya, chairman, said on 5 February 2007 in Mumbai.
Bell plans to sell as many as 150 helicopters in India in five years, B. S. Singh Deo, managing director of Bell’s India unit said on 9 February in Bangalore.
India’s government plans to permit more overseas companies to set up helicopter businesses in the country, Praful Patel, the civil aviation minister said on 5 February in New Delhi.
Global Vectra, which expects sales to rise 41% to Rs240 crores in the next fiscal, also plans to make acquisitions in Southeast Asia and West Asia to diversify, Rishi said.
“We want to grow our business beyond India,” he said.
Vectra Aviation, another company of the UK-based Vectra Group, will start a maintenance, repair and overhaul centre for Eurocopters in Greater Noida, on the outskirts of New Delhi, in April. It will have the capacity to repair 60 Eurocopters annually, and that will be later increased to about 150, he said. Vectra Aviation