It's a bird, it's a plane ... it's an ambulance! With a fleet of more than 400 medically equipped aircraft, mainly helicopters, Air Methods is the largest provider of emergency medical air-transportation services in the US. The company operates through three divisions. A community-based operating segment, which represents roughly 60% of revenues, offers transportation and in-flight medical care from hubs in some two dozen states. A hospital-based segment contracts with hospitals in 30 states to transport critically ill patients; the hospitals themselves provide in-flight medical personnel. The smallest division, United Rotorcraft, designs, manufactures, and installs aircraft medical-transport products.
Despite a slow economy, Air Methods is maintaining a near three-decade-long positive trajectory. In 2010 the company posted more than a 50% year-over-year rise in earnings. The next year, the company posted historic totals in both revenue (which increased by almost 18% to $660.5 million) and profits (spiking 9% to $46.7 million).
Its 2011 growth was driven by a 26% increase in flight revenues attributable to the company's mainstay business, community-based services (CBS). CBS revenues, which benefited from price increases, the addition of bases, and new service agreements, helped to offset a 20% increase in flight center costs related to higher workers compensation and expenses made from acquisitions.
Business acquisitions are part of the company's strategy to gain market share. It acquired Las Vegas helicopter tour operator Sundance Helicopters for $44 million in late 2012. Sundance offers helicopter services to support efforts in fire fighting, natural resource agency operations, vertical lifts, and news gathering, and it generated $52 million in revenue for its fiscal year ended March 2012.
Air Methods spent approximately $200 million in mid-2011 to take over OF Air Holdings Corporation, owned by Wind Point Partners. The move secured all of its subsidiaries, including rival Omniflight Helicopters, a Texas-based air medical transport service (comprising both community-based and hospital-based business) spanning 18 states and 75-base locations. On the heels of acquiring Omniflight, Air Methods bought out Texas-based United Rotorcraft Solutions, a full-service helicopter and fixed-wing completions and maintenance repair operation. – less