LONDON Nov 24 Engineering services group
Babcock is in exclusive discussions to take a stake in
helicopter transport services company Avincis, a source close to
the situation said on Sunday.
The source said the joint venture would mean Babcock taking
a stake in Avincis alongside its two current shareholders.
Britain's Sunday Times said the firm is expected to pay 1
billion pounds ($1.6 billion) in cash and take on about 500
million pounds of Avincis' loans as part of the deal.
Part-ownership of Avincis would give the FTSE 100
contractor, which began an international expansion drive three
years ago, access to potentially lucrative defence contracting
markets, particularly in Spain and Italy.
"Babcock International Group PLC confirms that it is in
exclusive discussions regarding the establishment of a joint
venture with respect to Avincis," the company said in a
"However, there can be no certainty that these discussions
will lead to any transaction or any certainty as to the terms
upon which any such transaction might proceed."
Avincis, which provides air services from search and rescue
to oil rig passenger transport in 10 countries, could not be
immediately reached for comment.
Shares in Babcock have risen 37 percent so far this year,
compared with a 21 percent rise in the FTSE 100, and are near an
all-time high, seemingly defying a backdrop of austerity and
greater scrutiny of public contractors in Britain.