London Oxford Airport-based Hangar 8 has acquired South African business aviation operator Star-Gate Aviation as it looks to expand its presence on the continent.

"This acquisition consolidates our position on the African continent and enables us to operate in the region with increased confidence and credibility," said the company.

The deal was for a total consideration of £330,000, including £130,000 in cash, £130,000 in Hangar 8 shares and a vendor loan of £70,000.

It is the company's second acquisition this year, having previously bought a 49% interest, with an option to gain 51% control, in a new joint-venture in Malta.

The JV is with two private investors, it said, who will "provide working capital while Hangar 8 will contribute its marketing and proven management expertise.

"We already have one aircraft based in Malta and will be seeking to expand operations there in due course," said Hangar 8.

It received its Maltese AOC in February 2012.

"Africa has become an important market for the Group and gaining the new AOCs in Malta and South Africa will allow us to further penetrate this growing market as the economic climate in this region stabilises," it said.

For the year to 31 December 2012, the company saw group revenue rise 39% for the first six months of its financial year to £9.3 million, up from £6.7 million for the same period a year earlier.

Charter revenue grew by 4% to £5.1 million and management fees soared by 118% to £3.7 million. The number of aircraft under management was up by 8 to 30 units, with average size of the managed fleet also rising, including six Hawker 900XPs, to reflect growing demand for larger aircraft, it said.

Pre-tax profit stood at £464,000 against a pre-tax loss of £621,000 for the same period a year earlier.

Nigel Payne, chairman, said, "I am delighted with the performance of Hangar 8 in the first six months of the current financial year. "Notwithstanding the difficult economic background in Europe, the strength of the business model, the scale of the business and its expanded geographical reach enables the board to continue to look forward to the balance of the financial year with confidence."

Dustin Dryden, chief executive, added: "We have grown our fleet, improved the quantum, quality and certainty of our revenue base, expanded our geographical reach, invested still further in human resources and laid the foundations for further growth in future periods."

The company will further invest in its maintenance operation and increase its footprint "through organic growth and acquisitions", said Dryden.

The number of destinations flown to was up 14% to 305 from 267 in 2010.

Source: Flight International