Air Chef Holdings Caters To The Fast Growing Private Jet
Meridian Venture Partners (MVP), one of the Mid-Atlantic
region's leading private equity firms, says it's backing the
acquisition of Air Chef Holdings, a Columbus, Ohio-based provider
of in-flight catering services for the private jet industry.
Propelled by the growth in usage of private jets-through whole
ownership, charter and fractional jets (a type of time-share
program for private jet usage)-the business aviation catering
industry grew to become a $150 million business worldwide in
The equity investment from MVP was used to fund the acquisition
of premier jet caterer Air Culinaire, Inc., based in Arlington,
Va., as well as an established in-flight catering company operating
at Luton Airport in London. These acquisitions are expected to more
than double the market which Air Chef services.
MVP led the financing and provided equity in conjunction with
individual investors. MVP also partnered with Spring Capital, which
provided mezzanine financing, and with JP Morgan Chase, which
provided senior financing.
Scott Liston, Chief Executive Officer of Air Chef, says, "Air
Chef has nearly unlimited growth opportunities before us. Our
customers include a literal 'who's who' of corporations,
entertainers, and high net worth individuals around the world, and
our ability to expand into the cities where they do business will
help us to immediately grow our business with them. The
acquisition of Air Culinaire doubles our footprint and will create
a platform for additional transactions in the industry. The
acquisition of the London operation opens the growing European
market to us for the first time. MVP's financing made these
exciting transactions possible."
Jay Weber, Vice President with MVP, says, "Scott Liston, Mark
Wolfington, Paul Schweitzer and their team at Air Chef have built a
successful business implementing technology, introducing new
products, and consistently providing great service to the operators
of private aircraft. Air Chef serves the leading markets in its
industry, and continues to gain market share. We are thrilled to be
a part of this growth strategy and we look forward to partnering
with the company on additional transactions in the future."
MVP has a history of aviation-related transactions. In 2002, the
company led the acquisition of Keystone Helicopter Corporation in
partnership with Ranger Aerospace to execute a consolidation
strategy in the rotorcraft industry. In 2004, MVP led the buyout of
Composite Technology, the largest independent rotor blade repair
company operating worldwide (now merged with Keystone Ranger). Also
in 2004 MVP, as co-lead in partnership with Brockway Moran &
Partners, sponsored the acquisition of Air Evac Lifeteam, a leading
emergency air medical transportation company.