Andrew Chuter/LONDON

Two of the UK's leading general-aviation concerns are changing hands as the "for-sale" sign goes up at Magec Aviation and the CSE Group is acquired by a new owner.

GEC is to sell its London Luton Airport-based Magec Aviation corporate-aviation business as part of a wider restructuring by new company boss George Simpson.

Magec's business covers the operation of four of its own corporate jets, maintenance, handling, chartering and the management of aircraft for other owners. Turnover this year is estimated to be more than £12 million ($20 million) and growing fast.

The company is responsible for handling 95% of all corporate-jet movements at Luton, the country's busiest business-aviation airport. It has also successfully started an operation at London City Airport.

GEC declines to comment on the sale. The business was originally known as McAlpine Aviation, and was acquired in 1989 by Lord Weinstock, the recently retired head of GEC.

CSE Group, owner of CSE Aviation, Oxford Air Training School and Oxford Airport, has been sold by Sweden's Industri Kapital 1989 Fund, Probo, to the UK-based Close Investment Management, subsidiary of the Close Brothers Group merchant bank, and the existing CSE management team.

Close has provided funding of about £20 million to buy the company, in which the CSE management team has taken an increased, but undisclosed, stake.

"The management team has significantly increased their share in the company," says Neil Murphy, director of Close Investment Bank and non-executive director of newly formed CSE Holdings. The company employs 260 staff. Robert Crooke, managing director of CSE Aviation will be replaced by Paul Lever as chairman and Mick Daw as chief executive.

Source: Flight International