Inflexion returns 3x on sale of CTC Aviation
Inflexion is delighted to announce the sale of CTC Aviation, one of the world’s largest independent airline pilot training and resourcing companies to L-3 Communications, a global aerospace and defence company. The transaction values the company at over £140m, generating a return on our original investment of 3x.
CTC Aviation has experienced strong growth during Inflexion’s tenure, securing multiple new long-term agreements with world-class partner airlines such as Virgin Atlantic, Oman Air, Dragonair and Wizz Air as well as gaining further prestigious regulatory approvals to expand into new territories in Asia and the Gulf region.
Inflexion supported organic growth through enabling a substantial increase in training capacity and customer service infrastructure. We oversaw the opening of new Crew Training Centres in both the UK and US, requiring investment in new flight simulators and aircraft, bringing the total number of centres to seven worldwide. We also supported investment into new trainee accommodation in New Zealand.
Recently, the business secured an exclusive agreement with its long-standing partner airline, British Airways, to deliver Airbus A320 training for both newly-qualified and experienced pilots. This is the first time that the UK flag carrier airline has committed to an exclusive partnership with an independent training provider. Additionally, CTC Aviation has also established a new sponsored training initiative with its longest and most established customer airline easyJet, to offer the UK’s first airline-supported degree for airline pilots in partnership with Middlesex University.
A key motivation for the management buyout was to enable the founder of CTC Aviation to transition the business to the experienced core management team which continued to be led by Rob Clarke as Chief Executive. Concurrently, Yagnish Chotai, special adviser to Inflexion became Chairman. Subsequently, Inflexion helped management strengthen the focus upon excellence of customer experience and the establishment of a dedicated sales team; instrumental in the success of securing new retail and airline customers.
John Hartz, Managing Partner at Inflexion commented “We are proud of CTC Aviation’s exceptional performance under our ownership. Working alongside a truly ambitious management team, we oversaw a doubling in the number of airline pilot trainees enrolled and investment of over £15m in additional simulators and aircraft. The business boasts a truly unrivalled customer base and is poised to continue its global expansion. We wish the team every success under new ownership.”
Rob Clarke, CEO of CTC Aviation commented “Before Inflexion’s investment in our business, we had preconceived ideas about private equity; in reality our experience has been remarkably different. Our partnership with Inflexion has been one of support and encouragement, presenting us with just the right amount of challenge coupled with the investment capital we needed to achieve our ambitions for growth. CTC Aviation is now a business of truly global scale; every year we train over 1,500 newly qualified and experienced pilots for over 40 partner airline customers. We have enjoyed a prosperous time with Inflexion and we look forward to developing further exciting opportunities with our new owners.”
The sale process was led by Mark Williams.
Last month, Inflexion sold SMD to a Chinese trade buyer. In March, Inflexion completed a Partnership Capital investment in CloserStill Media, the UK’s fastest growing international media and exhibitions business of scale.