Antares supports Norwest aviation acquisition

The mid-market lender has provided an $80m facility to support acquisition of West Star Aviation by Norwest Equity Partners.  

Antares Capital announced Monday (2 May) that it had provided an $80 million senior secured credit facility to Norwest Equity Partners (NEP) for the acquisition of West Star Aviation. Antares acted as administrative agent, joint lead arranger and book runner on the transaction, with Ally Corporate Finance and Norwest Mezzanine also provided financing for the facility.

“West Star's solid business model and industry-leading management team have helped to establish extremely high barriers to entry within the business aviation market,” said Tim DeVries, managing director of NEP in a statement. “From expanding service capabilities and facilities to key contracts and strategic growth initiatives, West Star is well-positioned for continued success,” added NEP partner Todd Solow.

Representatives of Antares and Norwest declined to comment on the details of the transaction.

West Star, an aviation company that provides repair and maintenance services on airframes and engines along with other related services, was advised by Harris Williams on the transaction.  Based in East Alton, Illinois, the company that would eventually become West Star was founded in Grand Junction, Colorado in 1952. It maintains facilities in both cities in addition to Dallas; Aspen, Colorado; Columbia, South Carolina and Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Norwest Equity Partners is a mid-market investment firm headquartered in Minneapolis that also offers junior capital solutions through its Norwest Mezzanine Partners unit. Norwest has raised $7.1 billion in capital since its 1961 founding and invests across the agriculture, business services, consumer, distribution, industrial, energy and healthcare sectors.

Antares, a US lender acquired last year by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, has $10 billion in assets and plans to double in size in the next four years, according to remarks by co-chief executive David Brackett at the ACG InterGrowth conference this week in New Orleans. Antares is headquartered in Chicago and maintains offices in Atlanta, Los Angeles , New York, Toronto and Norwalk, Connecticut.