8 Oct 2014

Helipro in voluntary receivership

6:15 pm on 8 October 2014

Helicopter company Helipro has been put into voluntary receivership.

A Helipro helicopter over Wellington city at dusk.

A Helipro helicopter over Wellington city at dusk. Photo: PHOTO NZ

Helipro, which runs a commercial and tourism helicopter business, employs about 70 staff in New Zealand, Fiji and Australia.

It also provides maintenance services, as well as helicopter and fixed wing flight training.

Receivers John Fisk and David Bridgman, of PricewaterhouseCoopers, said they would work with management, staff and customers in a bid to sell the company as a going concern.

Helipro's helicopter fleet had been grounded but staff had been asked to continue working during the next two weeks while issues related to the company's future were decided, Mr Fisk told Checkpoint.

It was too soon to say how many staff might lose their jobs, he said.

"Within that 14-day period we will have determined what staff we will need to continue to operate the business while we search for buyers and those staff will be offered new receivers' employment contracts."

The company had been struggling for a few years but cashflow problems and mounting debt have brought things to a head in the past couple of months, he said.

The receivers were still trying to establish how big the debt was but Mr Fisk said it was in the tens of millions of dollars.

The receivers hoped to sell the company as a going concern, he said.

"Parties are coming forward already that are interested in parts of the business. I'm hopeful that we'll be able to retain at least some of the jobs but it's early days and I can't guarantee anything at the moment."

The company had struggled with a decline in work following the global financial crisis, as well as high debt, he said.

"They've experienced a decrease in the level of work that's been available and that, combined with a high level of debt on the aircraft that they own, has meant that they suffered."