Erickson looks to China to save IPO

| Print |  Email
Articles - March 2011
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
0311_Erickson
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.

BEN JACKLET
 

More Articles

Tackling the CEO-worker pay gap

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY OREGON BUSINESS STAFF

An SEC rule targets the disparity between executive and employee compensation, reigniting a long-standing debate about corporate social responsibility.


Read more...

Crowdfunding 2.0

News
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
120214-crowdfund-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

A conversation with attorney Erich Merrill about the latest way to raise money from large groups of people.


Read more...

Political theater

News
Wednesday, January 07, 2015
0107-orbizplansum14-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

The Oregon Business Plan Leadership Summit drew more than 1,000 people to the Oregon Convention Center yesterday.


Read more...

The Carbon Calculus

February 2015
Friday, January 23, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

Carbon pricing is gaining momentum in Oregon, sparking concern for energy-intensive businesses — but also opportunity to expand a homespun green economy.


Read more...

A legislative preview — and celebration

News
Friday, January 23, 2015
012315-speaker-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

The Northwest Environmental Business Council previews the 2015 legislative agenda as Hatch Oregon celebrates Oregon's new community crowdfunding rules.


Read more...

Transportation Fairness Alliance holds demonstration in Pioneer Square

The Latest
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
IMG 3367BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Portland's cab companies urged city hall for consideration as officials weigh new rules for Uber and other ridesharing companies.


Read more...

See How They Run

January-Powerbook 2015
Friday, December 12, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Studying ground-running birds, a group that ranks among nature's speediest and most agile bipedal runners, to build a faster robot.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS