Friday’s Fast 5: Aircraft Propeller Service
Dan Colbert, president and CEO of APS, which is an authorized service center for major propeller OEMs, including Hamilton Sundstrand/UTAS, that is opening facilities in Brazil and Malaysia.
1. What is your outlook for the propeller aftermarket?
My outlook is very bullish because we look at the growth, particularly in emerging markets, such as Asia—specifically Southeast Asia, the turboprops such as ATRs are particularly well suited. ATR has done a wonderful job connecting with the operators and having a product that meets a lot of their needs. When you look out 5, 10, 15 years, with the anticipated delivery of new aircraft, the routes they’re flying and the amount they are flying, we feel very good about the [flying] demand that will create propeller overhaul requirements. Latin America is very similar—the geography and demographics lends themselves to the turboprops. I’m a little bit more concerned about Latin America from an economic standpoint because of the ups and downs, but at the same time, opening our facility in Brazil will give us the ability to withstand some of that, by being local.
2. What will your company look like in five years?
It will look dramatically different in the sense that today we’re very focused on propellers, which is great—and that will continue to be the core of what we do. But as we look at where we want to go, our focus is building off that platform. We are very aggressively looking at growth opportunities in additional platforms and broadening to propeller systems and looking at ways to get into things such as manufacturing niche parts. In five years, we’d be very disappointed if we were not a $200 million company.
3. What do you think the biggest growth area will be for you in the next five years?
I think it will be elements of all of them. Geographically, Asia will be the most likely growth area but if you look at a product segment, it’s hard to say. However, propellers will be a big growth area.
4. What are your top goals for the rest of 2016?
The number one is opening two shops—in Brazil and in Malaysia and getting them certified. That is critical for our license agreements to be successful--and critical to helping our customers be successful. Number two is making that next acquisition or bringing on that next new capability. Number three is to continue to build the team as we grow from $50 million to $200 million.
5. When will the next acquisition take place?
At any given time, we’re always talking with several—but they’re all in different stages. My challenge is that there is a lot of interest in the aviation space and there’s lot of private equity money and other companies looking to expand, so there’s lot of competition for acquisitions. The challenge is finding one that fits and there’s interest—and then winning it.