Finance

Helipro crashes into receivership owing “tens of millions” of dollars

Cara Waters /

Helicopter tourism business Helipro was advertised for sale today after going into receivership last week.

The business employs about 70 staff with bases in Australia, Fiji and New Zealand and is estimated to owe tens of millions of dollars.

PwC partners John Fisk and David Bridgeman were appointed as receivers to Rick Lucas Helicopters and its related entities which trade as Helipro.

Helipro’s fleet of around 30 helicopters, and a small number of fixed-wing planes used mainly for training, have been grounded by the receivers to ensure they are in compliance with civil aviation requirements, and that health and safety practices are up to scratch.

Assets for sale include helicopters and aircraft, aircraft hangar, office buildings, plant and equipment, helicopter parts, tooling and ground equipment, customer contracts and goodwill and various airport bases.

SmartCompany contacted the receivers but did not receive a response prior to publication.

However, Fisk told BusinessDay while they had not determined the full extent of creditor claims, the expectation was it would be in the “early tens of millions” of dollars.

“A lot of the fleet Helipro has is dependent on incidents like weather incidents and contract work for particular projects,” he said.

“Over the last few months the work they anticipated wasn’t there and led to cash flow problems and to debt which wasn’t able to be serviced.”

Helipro was established in 1983 and grew from a single pilot/helicopter operation to the current fleet of over 35 helicopters with bases in three countries.

Helipro’s receivership follows the collapse last year of helicopter company Heli-Aust.

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Cara Waters

Cara Waters is a former SmartCompany editor. Previously, Cara was a senior reporter for the Financial Times' website and worked for The Sunday Times in London.

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