Permira takes Swiss aviation firm on board

The Hirschmann family business Jet Aviation has sold a majority stake in its business aviation firm to Permira funds following a lengthy period of speculation over its future.

London-headquartered buyout firm Permira has acquired a majority stake in Swiss aircraft management firm Jet Aviation from the Hirschmann family for an undisclosed amount.

While Permira declined to provide financial details, Swiss press reports suggest the sale price was in the region of CHF800 million to CHF1 billion (€515 million to €644 million). The deal is subject to antitrust clearance and is expected to close by the end of September.

The late Carl Hirschmann founded the business in 1967

Professor Wolf-Rüdiger Bub, chairman of the Hirschmann Jet Aviation Group said in a statement that the acquisition by the Permira funds would help the business to strategically expand into new markets.

The transaction follows a long period of speculation regarding Jet Aviation’s future. Swiss newspaper reports dating back to 2002 suggested that the firm was in discussions regarding a sale, including the possibility of interest from London-listed 3i.

Zurich-based Jet Aviation was founded in Switzerland in 1967 by Carl Hirschmann, a US-trained pilot. The company operates an aircraft management and charter fleet of over 160 aircraft in Europe (Zurich), Asia (Hong Kong), the Middle East (Dubai) and the US (New Jersey).

Jet Aviation also provides maintenance, completions and engineering services, fixed base operations, airline handling, as well as aircraft sales, charter and management. It employs more than 3,500 personnel in over 60 facilities and stations globally.

According to online Swiss news site Neue Züricher Zeitung Online, Jet Aviation realised a turnover of CHF724 million (€467 million) in 2004.