Back in a Buying Mood

In February, Houston-based Landmark Aviation announced the acquisition of the Odyssey Aviation chain of five fixed base operations — at Cincinnati; Chicago; Asheville, NC; Charleston; Lafayette, LA; and New Orleans. The move followed the December buyout...

Bucaro: You’re getting transactions done in that five to eight range, but it’s not easy. You pass on an awful lot of them. I think some people out there see an eight to ten multiple as realistic these days, and to us it’s not. To make a generalization, people are much more in line and realistic of the marketplace today than they were three years ago. And the multiples are reflected by that.

ab: With the acquisition of Odyssey, will current president Ken Allison remain with Landmark?

Bucaro: Yes, he’s going to work with us going forward, primarily with our acquisition team and looking at new opportunities for us.

ab: Is it safe to assume then that more acquisitions could be in the offing?

Bucaro: I think we’re very diligent and very prudent about what we’re going to acquire, but we’re definitely looking at other properties.

ab: Is the focus more on the types of properties, or on location?

Bucaro: It’s location-driven; if you look at our map you can see where we have voids. We need to build out our network to better service our customers. We’re excited about going into Miami where we won that RFP process. It really helps our network. We’re going to make strategic acquisitions. What drives our business is safety and customer service, and part of the customer service issue is having the right locations for our customers. Look at our map and you can see we didn’t have a very good presence in Florida or the Midwest; we don’t have a very good presence in the Northwest. Those are all areas that we’re working hard to try to improve.

ab: How would you characterize the mood of your investors [GTCR Golder Rauner and Platform Partners, LLC]?

Bucaro: Our investors are very supportive. We have to show that it makes sense. They still like the industry. What speaks volumes is how they stood by us and stood by industry during the downturn.

ab: Is there an ultimate goal for the Landmark network?

Bucaro: I don’t look at it as putting dots on a map; I think there’s an ultimate goal that we continue to improve our network, again with the goal of serving our customers. Which dots will help us fill out the network?

ab: How does the international market fit in your plans?

Bucaro: We’re in Paris and Nice today, and clearly we like Europe and South America, but right now our focus is on North America. It doesn’t mean we won’t do something outside North America, or that we’re not talking with people outside North America.

ab: As you know, many airport sponsors — cities, counties, authorities — are under fiscal pressure today. Do you find airports trying to work with tenants during these economically challenging times, or are they raising rates and charges?

Bucaro: As a group, I would say they’re pretty well educated about the FBO business these days and understand that FBOs have to make money to continue to invest in the facilities and the airports. Overall they are supportive of the FBO business. We have many more airfields working with us to do the right things. Very few are taking the aggressive posture of let’s just raise rates. We have not seen that much at all.

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