Moelis Capital Partners has purchased PATS Aircraft Systems, one of Sussex County's leading employers and the key company in the county's industrial airpark in Georgetown.
“We are very excited about this partnership, which we are confident will help us grow and better meet the needs of our customers,” said John Martin, PATS president and CEO. “There is tremendous opportunity ahead and with MCP we have found a partner that is as passionate about the future as we are and excited to support the company in achieving its goals.”
Martin will continue in his roles as president and CEO and the other members of the PATS management team will remain in their current positions.
Matthew Hill, PATS vice president of business development, said there has been no discussion of any changes for employees, customers or the services PATS provides. “The new owner will be like a silent partner to the outside world that concentrates on the financial marketing side and investment side of the business,” Hill said. “They buy into the strategy we have in place here.”
Hill said Moelis has other aircraft company holdings. “They understand where we are coming from and that makes communication easier to support future growth. We are able to react more quickly when we are speaking the same language,” he said.
PATS partnership with Delaware Tech Community College will see no changes, Hill said. Del Tech offers an airframe maintenance technology associate’s degree program.
“We value this partnership greatly and we may end up increasing this type of thing. The new company wants to see us grow and that could mean an expanded workforce,” Hill said. “And we like to farm our own talent locally.”
PATS was founded in the late 1970s in Columbia, Md., and moved to Georgetown in the late 1990s.
PATS, and subsidiary Hollingsead International, provide auxiliary fuel systems and other integrated systems and specialty components to aircraft and aerospace industry suppliers. In addition, PATS is a leading service provider for Boeing Business Jets and other VIP aircraft, performing maintenance, modification and VIP aircraft interior work.
The company is a Federal Aviation Administration-registered repair station authorized to perform maintenance or modification on most narrow-body commercial airframes and is one of only six Boeing authorized warranty service centers worldwide.
The company has seven hangar bays in the county airpark with more than 221,000 square feet under roof. PATS employees nearly 300 people.
"PATS and Sussex County have a long-standing partnership, and to the leadership's credit, they have kept us apprised of this as it worked through the process," said Sussex County Administrator Todd Lawson. "As one of our most valued tenants at the airport, I am hopeful the new ownership will have little to no effect on their operations, and we're confident this new, steady income stream and strong financial backing will keep PATS competitive for years to come. We look forward to seeing PATS' continual success, and as the county airport grows, so, too, will PATS."
Jim Johnston, a Moelis partner, said, “We were impressed by PATS’ strong leadership team, successful track record, heritage of innovation, blue-chip customer base and dynamic culture. The company has built a reputation for providing high-quality service to very demanding customers, employing a hands-on management style with an emphasis on meeting the customer’s expectation no matter what it takes.”
Moelis purchased PATS from Wayzata Investment Partners, which took a controlling interest in PATS in November 2011. The purchase price was not disclosed.
Moelis Capital Partners is a middle market private equity firm founded in 2007. The company manages more than $870 million of private equity capital. See more information at moeliscapital.com.