Sponsored by Lane Powell

Erickson looks to China to save IPO

| Print |  Email
Articles - March 2011
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
Erickson Air-Crane provides services and maintenance for heavy-lift helicopters. It also makes helicopters in Oregon.
Erickson Air-Crane is hoping that a key deal to ship five helicopters made in Oregon to China will rescue its bid to become the state’s first business to go public through an initial public offering since 2004.

Erickson filed for a $75 million IPO in May 2010. But its revenues have been shrinking rather than growing in recent years, from $142 million in 2007 to $137 million in 2008, to $114 million in 2009. The company provides services and maintenance for heavy-lift helicopters used for logging, construction and firefighting. It has subsidiaries in Italy, Canada and Malaysia and seasonal contracts in Australia and Greece. It also manufactures helicopters in Oregon, but not many of them — selling just nine since 2002 and none in 2010.

Between falling revenues and heavy borrowing, Erickson had $88 million in debts as of Sept. 30, 2010. “We anticipate that we will not be in compliance with certain financial debt covenants,” the company wrote in a Dec. 27 SEC filing.

So landing an agreement to export five helicopters to China was a huge deal. Erickson entered into a non-binding agreement in December with China Taicang Aircrane, a subsidiary of Wan Yu Industries Groups. The White House mentioned the deal in a Jan. 19 document stressing the economic importance of exports to China. Erickson officials could not comment because of the mandatory “quiet period” that accompanies IPOs, to avoid inflating the stock price with hype.

If the deal goes through, it will bring new life to Erickson’s Central Point operation, where most of the company’s 700 employees work. (The company moved its headquarters from Southern Oregon to Portland prior to filing for an IPO.) But future manufacturing may take place in China instead of Oregon. One element of the deal outlined in SEC documents calls for “cooperation with and support of Taicang in developing the capabilities and facilities required for the manufacture, marketing and support of the Aircrane in China.”

Erickson is one of two Oregon-based companies wading through the complex process of going public since filing last May. The other is the Portland-based IT security and compliance business Tripwire. In contrast to Erickson’s falling fortunes in recent years, Tripwire has been growing revenues by more than 20% per year and has over 5,600 customers in 89 countries. Tripwire is also restricted from commenting during its quiet period.

The last two companies to complete successful IPOs in Oregon were Portland-based restaurateur McCormick & Schmick’s and Beaverton-based Cascade Microtech. Both went public in 2004.


More Articles

Salad Days

October 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015

How Portland's Garden Bar plans to become the Starbucks of salad.


Storyteller in Chief: Brew Stories

October 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015

Over the years, many mentors have taught me lessons that have helped shape the way I view the world of work and our business.


Light Reading

September 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015

Ask any college student: Textbook prices have skyrocketed out of control. Online education startup Lumen Learning aims to bring them down to earth.


Counterpoint: CLT not as green as people think

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, September 16, 2015
photo-flickr-glasseyes viewthymbBY GREGG LEWIS | OP-ED

The issue of green-washing remains a significant challenge to those of us who would like to see the building sector in this country do more than make unverifiable claims of sustainability. Transparency about the impacts of a given material is the only way to allow designers to make intelligent choices when selecting building products.


100 Best Nonprofits announced

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

1015-nonprofits01Oregon Business magazine has named the seventh annual 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon. The rankings were revealed Wednesday night during an awards dinner at the Sentinel Hotel in Portland.


Getting What You Pay For

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A conversation with Chris Maples, president of the Oregon Institute of Technology.


Living the dream

Friday, August 21, 2015

smugglespearsthumbRenee Spears, founder and owner of Portland-based Rose City Mortgage, is hot to trot to sell pot.

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02