Sunday 18 March 2018

Losses widen at air rescue firm

Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Losses at the private helicopter company that has a €500m state contract for offshore search and rescue have increased to €2.78m.

CHC Ireland is the Irish subsidiary of a Canadian firm that is the biggest of its kind anywhere and has a significant operation in Scotland servicing the offshore oil industry.

Here, it is most associated with a €500m-a-year contract to provide offshore search and rescue services that runs from 2012 until 2022.

The contract was controversial when it was signed in 2010 because it was the first time that the Air Corp lost responsibility for offshore rescues. The Air Corp was not allowed to tender for the work.

Accounts just filed with the Companies Registration Office show that CHC Ireland suffered a loss of €2.78m in the 12 months to the end of April 2012, up from €1.8m in 2011. Turnover was up last year to €24m compared to €23m.

Running costs exceeded income by €3m, the accounts show. The rise in losses was driven by updating of the company's Irish fleet with new Sikorsky S-92 that have enhanced rescue technology such as infra-red and low-light cameras, and high-speed rescue hoists.

The first of the new aircraft was delivered in May last year and is stationed in Shannon.

CHC Ireland has suffered losses for the past four years with accumulated losses standing at €6.62m, which is the reason that no corporation tax was paid in the past two years.

Income under the new state contract is likely to see a big step up in income for the business from this year.

Staff costs at CHC were €12.6m, up slightly over the previous year.

Irish Independent

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