CHC seeks a lifeline in Coast Guard contracts
THE company that provides search and rescue services to the Coast Guard lost almost €6.5m in the two years before it began re-bidding for its crucial state contracts.
The hefty losses are revealed in accounts just filed for CHC Ireland and come as the Government looks to save €1m a year by reducing Waterford's search and rescue operation to daylight hours only.
Canada-based CHC holds the contracts for Ireland's four search and rescue bases until 2013, but has already begun re-tendering and expects to find out if it is the "preferred bidder" by the end of the year.
The Department of Transport recently confirmed that a "preferred bidder" has already been picked for the sites but the company's identity won't be revealed until the tender process is completed.
The latest accounts show the Coast Guard contracts made up the bulk of CHC's business in the year to April 2009, with the only other activity being a one-helicopter contract to ferry oil and gas workers from Cork.
CHC employs about 120 people in Ireland, and is part of an international aviation group that was bought out by US private equity investors for CAD$1.5bn (€1.1bn) in 2008.