CHC Helicopter has agreed the sale of Offshore Helicopter Services (OHS) UK – a business it acquired from Babcock before UK competition regulators blocked the deal – to South African firm Ultimate Aviation Group.

OHS UK, alongside offshore oil and gas operations in Australia and Denmark, was bought from Babcock by CHC in 2021.

Babcock H175

Source: Airbus Helicopters

However, the UK Markets and Competition Authority (MCA) required the business to be held at arms length while it conducted a review into the transaction.

That probe in August 2022 concluded that the market consolidation would harm competition in the North Sea and required CHC to divest the operation.

CHC says it conducted an auction of OHS UK, leading to the signature of a sale and purchase agreement with Ultimate on 30 December 2022.

Subject to closing conditions, including final approval of the sale by the CMA, the transaction is expected to complete in the first quarter of 2023.

David Balevic, CHC chief executive, says: “While we remain disappointed with the CMA’s decision and believe it was based on several fundamental misconceptions, we are glad to be close to completing this process through the sale of OHS UK to Ultimate Aviation.”

Companies House documents show that Ultimate Aviation Group UK was set up on 1 December 2022, with Ultimate Aviation Group chief executive Shaun Roseveare listed as its sole director and shareholder.

Ultimate Heli – the firm’s rotary-wing unit – operates a fleet of mostly light- and medium-class helicopters, with the largest being the Bell 412. It operates in 15 countries, with a focus on Africa, its website states.