Robertson Fuel Systems will be sold to the aerospace and electronics firm HEICO Corp. Private-equity investment firm American Securities LLC said it had reached a definitive agreement to sell the provider of fuel containment and ballistic tolerance systems for $255 million and expects to close the deal by Feb. 19, 2016. The sale is subject to U.S. anti-trust reviews “and other customary closing conditions,” said American Securities.
The deal comes amid mounting pressure for greater use of crash-resistant fuel systems on U.S. civil helicopters. With the NTSB, politicians and the media focusing on why crews and passengers are still burning to death in otherwise survivable crashes, the FAA on Nov. 5 launched the Rotorcraft Occupant Protection Working Group to look at means of increasing the percentage of helicopters with crash-resistant fuel systems and more crashworthy seats. Later that month, the Air Medical Operators Assn. MOA, which represents 12 air medical operators (including the largest helicopter ones), said it will work with Airbus Helicopters and Bell Helicopter to develop options for such systems on newly delivered aircraft and for retrofitting current fleets with them. Tempe, Arizona-based Robertson's products include about 65 different fuel systems on more than 50 different military and civil aircraft and ground vehicles.