Inflexion nets 3x on CTC Aviation sale to L-3

The transaction gives CTC Aviation over £140 million in valuation

Inflexion Private Equity, a London-based firm, is making a 3x return on its sale of airline pilot training company CTC Aviation to L-3 Communications Holdings Inc., a New York-based aerospace and defence company, according to a statement.

A private equity group that specializes in buyouts of UK companies with enterprise values ranging from £10 million ($15.28 million; €14.05 million) to £30 million, Inflexion acquired a majority stake in CTC Aviation three years ago for approximately £70 million from its 2010 buyout fund, Inflexion managing partner John Hartz told Private Equity International.

“CTC was a perfect buyout for Inflexion,” Hartz said by phone. “We were able to partner with an ambitious management team.”

Following its acquisition, Inflexion supported CTC's opening of new crew training centres in the UK and US. In addition, the company also struck up arrangements with Virgin Atlantic, Oman Air, Dragonair and Wizz Air to support its personnel with training resources.

“Before Inflexion's investment in our business, we had preconceived ideas about private equity,” said Rob Clarke, chief executive of CTC Aviation, noting that “in reality our experience has been remarkably different.”

This transaction with L-3 gives the pilot training and resourcing company a valuation of more than £140 million ($214 million).

For New York-based L-3, the acquisition will expand its commercial aviation training portfolio that also includes L-3 Link UK.

Inflexion opened offices in Bangalore, India, as well as Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Shanghai in 2012 as part of its efforts to expand its global investment operations in emerging markets. Last September, the firm closed its Fund IV on £650 million and its Partnership Capital Fund I on £400 million, according to PEI's Research & Analytics division.

Mark Williams, an investment director at Inflexion, led the transaction for the firm, which relied on PWC Corporate Finance and Addleshaw Goddard for financial and legal counsel, respectively.