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UK Search and Rescue bid by Thales

Thales : 21 March, 2008  (Company News)
New partner - and new name - announced for search and rescue bid team
CHC Helicopter Corporation and Thales UK are pleased to announce that the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has joined their team bidding for the planned new UK Search and Rescue (SAR) service. CHC and Thales say the addition of the RBS as an equity partner adds significant new strength to the team, bringing as it does world-class experience of project finance and private finance initiative (PFI) programmes.

In order to focus the team’s key mission to deliver a successful service that reflects the partners’ shared core values, they have created an Alliance (which will become a Joint Venture on Contract Signing) to be known as ’Soteria‘. Soteria is the Greek goddess of safety, deliverance and preservation from harm – a mission statement that fits well with the role of delivering a successful SAR service.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Department for Transport (DfT) announced last year the formal launch of a joint SAR – Helicopter (SAR-H) project to procure a harmonised service for the UK. It is now going forward as a joint MoD / MCA PFI competition. The Soteria team, currently one of three bidders who have been selected to participate in a dialogue, is developing an innovative, high-performing and cost effective solution, which will be assessed jointly by the MoD and MCA.

Keith Mullett, European Managing Director of CHC, says: “The addition of the Royal Bank of Scotland reinforces the strength of the Soteria team. We look to the Royal Bank of Scotland to bring their financial capabilities to help Soteria deliver a real value for money solution.

“The launch of the Alliance is key to focusing Soteria in delivering proposals whose core theme is the safety and protection from harm of the public. CHC operates an established – and growing – portfolio of SAR services in the UK, in Europe and around the world. We are bringing all of that experience, and our commitment to introducing new technology, as we seek to take a harmonised UK SAR service into a new era.”

Alex Dorrian, Thales UK Chief Executive Officer, says: “The addition of the Royal Bank of Scotland complements and extends our skills, giving Soteria a breadth of experience that is second to none. We are committed to providing the MoD and MCA with an innovative solution that further enhances the reputation of this essential public service.”

Tom Hardy, Global Head, Project and Export Finance, RBS, says: “We are pleased to be joining the Soteria team which clearly has the operational, management and training capabilities to deliver an outstanding Search and Rescue service. With our own extensive track record of commitment to PFI projects, we expect to bring our expertise in project finance to help create a stable financial solution for Soteria, capable of being sustained throughout the life of the programme.”

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