Universal Weather and Aviation Enters Into Partnership With Macquarie Consortium

To acquire a 45 percent interest in company

HOUSTON , Nov. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc. announced today that it has entered into a strategic partnership with a consortium comprised of Macquarie Capital Alliance Group and Macquarie Global Opportunities Partners (the Consortium), which are both entities managed by the Macquarie Group.

(Logo: NewsCom: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20060327/UWALOGO)

Universal(R) signed a contractual agreement with the Consortium Tuesday, Nov. 20 , that will officially execute the partnership subject to closing conditions and regulatory approvals customary for transactions of this type, with closing expected within 60 days.

A leading provider of trip support services for the business aviation market, Universal(R) is headquartered in Houston with approximately 1,300 employees worldwide. In addition to trip support services, the company has what's considered the premier global ground support network (known as "FBOs" in the U.S.) and is the pioneer of business aviation's fuel management programs with its fuel division, UVair(R).

Under the terms of the partnership, the Consortium will acquire a 45 percent financial interest (approximately) in the company. Universal(R) Chairman Greg Evans will retain controlling interest with 55 percent ownership. Universal's current leadership structure will remain the same, with the addition of two of Macquarie's officers who will assume roles on the Universal Board of Directors.

Greg Evans , who currently is sole owner of Universal(R), will continue in his role as Chairman of the Board; Ralph Vasami will continue as President and CEO; Dave Diulus will continue as Chief Operating Officer; and Doug Kelley as Chief Financial Officer.

"It is with great pleasure and excitement that I, along with the Universal(R) Board of Directors, make this announcement," said Evans. "Because of Macquarie's strong asset management track record and unique experience in the business aviation industry, the Consortium will be able to provide resources, expertise and strategic synergy to aid in Universal's global growth and expansion strategies."

He added, "Our current services, our day-to-day operations will not change -- with the exception of just continuing to get better, which will be largely due to this new partnership that will provide additional resources, the opportunity for aggregate buying power along with the strategic synergy I mentioned earlier."

"We are the same Universal(R), the same industry leader, the same trusted company that our clients and vendors can continue to rely upon for superior customer service when it comes to business aviation services."

Michael Cook , CEO of Macquarie Capital Alliance Group and Chairman of Macquarie Global Opportunities Partners, said, "We are excited to be entering into this partnership with Universal(R) and investing alongside Greg Evans to support the company's growth. Universal has an excellent reputation, institutional expertise and a global presence that make it the leader in its industry. The company is directly aligned with the fast growing general aviation market and demonstrates many 'privileged cash flow' characteristics that we seek and that make it an attractive investment for our investors. Through Macquarie's financial expertise and business aviation sector experience, we'll also be in a strong position to assist Universal as it continues to grow and serve its customers around the world."

Universal(R) will maintain its operational autonomy, its independent brand, and its current leadership structure as noted earlier.

Jefferies Quarterdeck, a division of Jefferies & Company, Inc., served as the exclusive financial advisor to Universal. Macquarie Securities (USA) Inc. acted as exclusive financial advisor to the Consortium.

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