US buyer acquires Runcorn-based aircraft maintenance business

Apple Aviation, which turns over £12m a year, was founded by engineers, Bernard Longman, Scott Whittlestone and Simon Pickford in 2010. Tony McDonough reports

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Based in Runcorn, Apple Aviation turns over around £12m a year

 

A US-based aviation group has acquired Runcorn aircraft maintenance specialist Apple Aviation for an undisclosed sum.

Apple Aviation, which turns over £12m a year, was founded by engineers, Bernard Longman, Scott Whittlestone and Simon Pickford in 2010 and operates a 150,000 sq ft maintenance facility in Newquay in Cornwall.

New owner STS Aviation Group, backed by Greenbriar Equity Group, has an established “buy and build” strategy and will use the acquisition as a springboard for growth in Europe. Apple Aviation will become part of STS’ MEM (Maintenance, Engineering & Modification) group. The three founders will remain in the business.

The company has long-term contracts with a number of tier one engineering companies and airlines, including Rolls-Royce.

Liverpool-based professional advisors played a key role in the deal acting on behalf of the vendors, principally Chris Ryan, associate director at accountancy firm Grant Thornton’s Liverpool office, assisted by Cariad Mudford. Liverpool law firm Hill Dickinson provided the vendors with legal advice.

One of Apple Aviation’s three co-founders, Bernard Longman, said: “The business had grown rapidly over the last five years, and the founders decided that a partnership through acquisition was the best step forward for the company.

“We met with various investors and decided that the STS Aviation Group history, team and profile was the best fit for our business.”

Mark Smith, president of STS Aviation Group, added: “As some may recall, STS made a strategic move into Europe earlier this year after acquiring Triumph Aviation Services’ NAAS Division. And with the recent acquisition of Apple Aviation, our company continues to grow on a global scale.”

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