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Eirtech Aviation Merges With American Peer

Eirtech Aviation, which was spun out of Lufthansa Technik in an MBO in 2009, has merged with an American peer company in a deal that sees Eirtech principals Niall Cunningham and Peter Collins become major players in their specialised sector.

Eirtech Aviation specialises in painting jet aircraft and interior repair. Chief executive Niall Cunningham (pictured) and chief operations officer Peter Collins led a management buyout of Lufthansa Technik Painting Shannon in 2009 and expanded the company through the establishment of a base at Dublin Airport.

Further expansion followed at Ostrava in the Czech Republic and Fiumicino Airport in Rome to facilitate both narrow and wide body aircraft, and regional aircraft. The company has a portfolio of clients that range from international airlines, private operators and aviation leasing companies.

Collins joined Lufthansa Technik in 1999 and partnered with Cunningham in the 2009 MBO. Cunningham and Collins own Eirtech Avition Holdings Ltd, which in turn owns the operating company, Eirtech Aviation Ltd.

Eirtech has linked up with Texas company Leading Edge Aviation Services, which is owned by Vance Street Capital LLC, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm. The LA firm acquired Leading Edge in 2012 and Associated Painters in 2013.

The newly merged entity, International Aerospace Coatings Holdings, employs around 800 people in Europe, North America and Dubai.  Leading Edge, Associated Painters and Eirtech will continue to operate under their respective brand names and existing management teams in their geographic regions.

Terms of the Eirtech transaction have not been disclosed, though a press release stated that “Eirtech will hold a substantial shareholding in the new group”. According to Cunningham: “The aviation sector is not constrained by geographical boundaries and is a dynamic, global industry. Merging a leading European and US provider was an obvious move and positions the entity as an industry leader by size and scale.”

Vance Street Capital says it makes control investments in companies with enterprise values up to $200m. Leading Edge and Associated Painters have eight facilities in America and currently refinish over 500 aircraft per year across all locations. (08/08/14)

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