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  • Anna Wallis

    Journalist

    Email Anna Wallis

    GBR Helicopter sold to national tourism giant for $20 million


    Tourism mega company Skydive The Beach Group has bought local business Great Barrier Reef Helicopters for an impressive $20 million.

    The massive investment will see Skydive buy all of Cairns-based GBR Helicopter assets, including its fleet of 22 helicopters, airfield, helipad and hangar leases and office building.

    Skydive, a major tourism company in Australia and New Zealand, is buying the Tropical North’s largest helicopter operator.

    It’s been on a spending spree in TNQ in the past year, with the takeover of Raging Thunder Adventures last October and more recently Reef Magic Cruises. The company has also snapped up other tourism businesses, including Byron Bay Ballooning.

    GBR Helicopters, established more than 20 years ago, is the largest helicopter operator in TNQ. It offers a range of scenic flights to the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree Rainforest, and other surrounding areas departing from Cairns and Port Douglas.

    Skydive CEO Anthony Ritter said the purchase of GBR Helicopters was another step in the company's vision to become the "world’s largest and most respected adventure tourism company".

    “This acquisition not only strengthens Skydive’s position in the Far North Queensland adventure tourism and experience market, but also for the national and global markets," he said.

    “Helicopter flights over the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest are world-class experiences, and we are incredibly fortunate to add such a wonderful and exciting product offering to our portfolio of highly recognisable and respected company brands."

    The sale is due to settle on November 1.

    The acquisition takes Skydive's FY18 forecasted revenue to circa $124 million - $129 million and underlying EBITDA of $31 million - $33 million.