I am pleased to announce that Bristow Group has signed a definitive agreement with VIH Aviation Group (VIHAG) to acquire from VIHAG and its affiliates certain operating assets located in Canada and also invest in a minority interest in VIHAGís Canadian subsidiary, Cougar Helicopters Inc. (Cougar). Bristow will be acquiring eight S-92s along with maintenance and hangar facilities located in St. Johnís, Newfoundland & Labrador, and Halifax, Nova Scotia, which will be leased back to Cougar.
Cougar is Canadaís largest offshore oil and gas and SAR helicopter service provider. The relationship will enable us to enter a new market and, working in partnership with Cougarís experienced management team, leverage Cougarís leading market position to take advantage of future growth opportunities in Atlantic Canada.
Cougarís existing management team will continue to direct operations; current employees number approximately 250. Bristow will lease the eight S-92 aircraft and facilities to Cougar and provide value-added services, such as helicopter maintenance. Cougarís results will report through NABU.
We view this investment as important to expanding our involvement in North American oil and gas operations, as well as increase our SAR capabilities globally.
We believe Cougar will be a good partner for Bristow given Cougarís strong commitment to safety, quality and service and compatible culture. We also already have strong relationships with many of Cougarís clients, among them Statoil, Exxon and Chevron. I believe our industry leadership and best practices in safety and performance, combined with Cougarís strong local presence in Atlantic Canada, will help us achieve our goal of being the first choice offshore helicopter services provider in the North American market.