By GREG STILES
Erickson Air-Crane is adding another major Oregon helicopter operation to its fold.
The longtime Sikorsky aircrane and helitanker operator said it is purchasing Evergreen Helicopters from Evergreen International Aviation of McMinnville for $250 million.
The move comes just days after launching into the medium-lift helicopter realm with the pending acquisition of a South American company.
Erickson Air-Crane will pay $185 million in cash, $17.5 million in unsecured promissory notes and approximately 4 million in convertible preferred Erickson shares valued at $47.5 million. The Evergreen deal is expected to close in the second quarter.
“As we look to the future of our company, it is clear that we have begun a new chapter,” said Udo Rieder, Erickson Air-Crane president and chief executive officer, in a statement. “… We are successfully transcending our market position as a leader in heavy-lift operations to build a diverse, global aviation-services provider.”
Erickson Air-Crane’s primary manufacturing and maintenance operations are on Willow Springs Road outside Central Point.
Earlier this month, Erickson said it would acquire Brazilian helicopter firm Air Amazonia from HRT Participacoes em Petroleo for $65 million to $75 million.
Once both deals are closed, the consolidated firms will produce approximately $430 million in revenue and operate a diverse fleet of 100 helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, the company said.
The Evergreen deal will merge two former adversaries.
Two years ago, Erickson and Evergreen reached an out-of-court settlement after a U.S. District Court judge granted Evergreen a partial summary judgment in its breach of contract and antitrust claims.
Judge Owen Panner said Erickson had failed to live up to its obligation to provide parts and service for Sikorsky helicopters operated by Evergreen.
Evergreen Helicopters said it was seeking $8.17 million in damages for lost profits with the breach of contract claim and an antitrust claim of $5.92 million. Evergreen also asked for $6.2 million to cover the costs of making its CH-54 operational.
Evergreen operates 64 aircraft — both helicopters and fixed-wing airplanes — and has about 400 employees. During 2012, Evergreen produced revenue of $196 million. The 53-year-old firm provides passenger and cargo transportation, medical evacuation, disaster relief and firefighting services for government and commercial clients.
“The combination of these three businesses would diversify our end-markets, regions serviced, mission capabilities and aircraft types,” Rieder said.
With the acquisitions, Erickson’s North American operations will shrink from 60 percent to 33 percent of the company’s activity. The Middle East will become the second-largest theater of operation, while European operations will fall to 10 percent from 21 percent.
Erickson Air-Crane shares rose 37 cents Monday, finishing at $14.13.
This story originally appeared in Medford Mail Tribune.