COHC to Buy 2 Sikorsky S-92 Copters

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Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., a subsidiary of diversified business conglomerate United Technologies Corp. (UTX), recently inked an agreement with CITIC Offshore Helicopter Company (:COHC), a publicly-traded company in Shenzhen, China, to deliver a pair of S-92 copters for its offshore oil crew transportation mission. The helicopters are scheduled to be delivered in Dec 2014 and Mar 2015.

The offshore oil market is fast evolving in China to meet the increased demand for fuel consumption from the burgeoning population. In order to bridge this huge demand-supply imbalance, oil service providers in the region are increasingly focusing on helicopters with advanced features to improve efficiency and safety features for offshore oil missions. Sikorsky helicopters serve this purpose to the core, fortified with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval for the introduction of the “Rig Approach” functionality in its S-92 helicopters.

The Rig Approach offers a fully automated approach capability to pilots flying out to oil platforms and rigs. It also ensures higher safety margins than any other offshore procedure approaches. It helps to reduce the workload at critical times during the instrument arrival procedure and provides additional barriers to CFIT (controlled flight into terrain). This in turn provides offshore oil operators an easier maneuver and reduces cockpit workload by 60% from 17 pilot-initiated items to only seven.

The Rig Approach functionality can also be retrofitted to any S-92 helicopter that is already operational. Over the years, the S-92 fleet has grown to 170 helicopters since entering service in Sep 2004, operating in diverse fields such as Head of State missions, search and rescue (SAR) operations, and transportation services for utility and airline passengers.

Sikorsky is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of military and commercial helicopters. It also provides aftermarket helicopter and aircraft parts and services for its parent company United Technologies. At present, major production programs at Sikorsky include the UH-60M Black Hawk medium-transport helicopters and HH-60M Medevac helicopters for the U.S. and foreign governments, the S-70 Black Hawk for foreign governments, the MH-60S and MH-60R helicopters for the U.S. Navy, the International Naval Hawk for multiple naval missions, and the S-76 and S-92 helicopters for commercial operations.

Based in Hartford, Conn., United Technologies provides high-end technology products and services to the building systems and aerospace industries worldwide. The company is a diversified business conglomerate serving various end markets such as aerospace, defense and commercial construction. The business diversification allows the company to remain profitable amid tough economic times.

United Technologies presently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other notable companies in the industry include ITT Corporation (ITT), Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (HUWHY), and Compass Diversified Holdings (CODI), each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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