Air Works on the Block as Top Investors Look to Exit
Majority shareholders Punj Lloyd Aviation, GTI Capital looking to sell stake in 12 months
New Delhi: Air Works, a Gurgaon-based aircraft maintenance and repair service provider that paints a third of all planes produced by Airbus as per specifications of the airlines buying them, is on the block.
Top investors such as Punj Lloyd Aviation and GTI Capital, which together own majority stake in the company, are looking to exit the business in the next twelve months, Air Works managing director Vivek Gour said. “We have long-term investors and it is our mandate to provide them liquidity,” he told ET.
The company expects to be valued at .₹ 2,000 crore, Gour said. “The management will continue to retain its stake in the company post any secondary sale of shares by investors,” he said. Gour and certain members of the senior management team collectively own a 20% stake in the company.
Air Works claims to be the largest independent flight maintenance and repair organisation (MRO) in India. It provides maintenance services to carriers such as SpiceJet and Vistara at its facility in Hosur, on the outskirts of Bengaluru. GMR is the only other service provider that maintains aircraft for third parties. Air India and Jet Airways have in-house aircraft maintenance arms.
Air Works also provides transit checks at 14 airports for multiple foreign carriers. Founded in 1951 by PS Menon and BG Menon, the company has grown through acquisitions since Gour’s appointment as the head of its business in 2010. It acquired a controlling stake in Air Livery, the largest aircraft refinishing company in Europe in 2010, along with its painting facility in Toulouse, France, located next to Airbus’ manufacturing site, as part of its purchase of Aero Technique Espace four years ago.
Air Works recorded revenues of .₹ 650 crore for the year ended March 2016.
Experts see big scope for thirdparty flight MROs in the country where air traffic is rising rapidly. “Over 90% of aircraft maintenance work is presently outsourced by Indian carriers due to onerous taxes in India. Once local regulations ease, domestic service providers will see their business grow substantially,” said Amber Dubey, head of aerospace and defence at KPMG.
According to estimates compiled by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), India will be among the five fastest growing civil aviation markets in terms of passenger traffic additions by 2034.
Air Works, meanwhile, is in the process of signing a contract with Rolls Royce for maintenance and repairs of helicopters fitted with the latter’s engines.