Chinese group sets out Airwork offer to shareholders

Rifa would also seek to expand its maintenance and repair work through gaining certification in emerging markets.

Zhejiang Rifa Holding Group has set out its bid for a partial takeover of Airwork Holdings, the Auckland-based aircraft services business, telling shareholders that it will seek to grow Airwork's presence in emerging markets such as Asia and Latin America.

In October, the Chinese group announced it had entered a takeover lock-up deed with major shareholders at $5.40 a share. Interests associated with non-executive director Hugh Jones hold 54% of the shares on issue, so the deal can proceed regardless of whether any other shareholders accept because Rifa is seeking a minimum of 50.1%.

In its offer to shareholders published to the NZX, Rifa states it will maintain its listing on the NZX and would support the existing business strategy, maintain the headquarters in New Zealand and retain key personnel. It would also "retain and respect the organisational culture, history and achievements of Airwork."

It argues there are growth opportunities from it being a major shareholder, including "building Airwork's helicopter leasing presence in China through a potential dispatch of existing Airwork helicopters and acquisition of new helicopters."

Rifa would also seek to expand its maintenance and repair work through gaining certification in emerging markets.

The offer shows that Rifa established Air Xiya, an aviation business in China in 2014. Before this, it had specialised in textile machinery and electronic precision machinery.

Rifa is aiming to grow Air Xiya to include 30 helicopters and fixed wing aircraft in the next five years, with its growth accelerated by acquisitions such as Airwork.

The deal remains reliant on achieving regulatory approval from both the Overseas Investment Office and aviation regulators.

Shares were unchanged at $4.85, and have risen 24% since the start of the year. They were trading at $4.42 before the takeover offer was announced.

(BusinessDesk)

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