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Helicopters NZ's Canadian buyer to adopt HNZ name

Friday 11th May 2012

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Canadian Helicopters, which bought Helicopters New Zealand from the receivers of South Canterbury Finance for $154 million last year, wants to adopt the HNZ name to tap into its global reputation.

The unit, once owned by the late Allan Hubbard, contributed C$18.5 million of revenue to the group's C$62.5 million in the three months ended March 30, the Canadian company said in a statement to the Toronto Stock Exchange. Net quarterly income rose to C$8.3 million, or 63 Canadian cents per share, from $4.8 million, or 37 cents per share, a year earlier.

"Canadian Helicopters had another strong performance in the first quarter as operations in the southern hemisphere offset the seasonal slowdown in Canadian domestic activity," president and chief executive Don Wall said. "HNZ had a very strong quarter driven by fire fighting activities and its strong presence in the resources sector."

Last month, Canadian Helicopters flagged its intention to change its name to HNZ Group to "increase the company's global marketability and branding by distinguishing the company from similarly named Canadian competitors and to leverage the existing HNZ brand recognition," it said.

Shareholders will vote on whether to approve the name change at the annual and special meeting in Canada on May 11. If all approvals are obtained, the company will change its name in the Northern Hemisphere summer this year.

Canadian Helicopters has cut its bank debt to C$41.7 million as at March 31. It drew down C$93 million of a revolving credit facility of C$125 million to finance the HNZ acquisition, which boosted its fleet by a third to 160 choppers.

Wall said the company's financial position lets it seek new opportunities in international markets, and it is looking at making more acquisitions that complement its existing business model.

The shares fell 0.8 percent to C$33.10 in trading on the TSX yesterday, and have climbed 39 percent this year.

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