AUSTRALIAN Pilotage Group has announce it has completed the sale and recapitalisation of the business with Maritime Pilot Holdings, an investment company of Canadian pension fund OPTrust, now the majority owner.

The development has also resulted in the resignation of business founder Captain Steve Rabie, to be replaced by Trent Lonsdale.

APG operates by flying marine pilots by helicopter to ships off Port Phillip Heads.

Captain Rabie said the decision to sell was “a logical step to partner with a larger industry player to maximise the future growth prospects of the business”.

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OPTrust is understood to have been acquiring Australian port services businesses nationally, with APG the fifth transaction in this sector, with the five operating companies within the group including Aviator Group, Whitsunday Helicopters, Australian Reef Pilots, Argonaut Marine Group and now APG.

Captain Rabie said the recapitalisation was “the result of an intensive process conduced over several months, with what I believe, is a wonderful opportunity for APG, at the time of the company’s imminent expansion and growth in the market”.

He said the decision to leave APG was “not a decision taken lightly”.

“I decided that having founded the business, – bringing in helicopter marine pilot winching into Australia… it would be wise to hand over the reins to a professional and disciplined management structure,” Captain Rabie said.

“This would allow me to pursue other professional goals, and in the process have some time off with my family. Thus, APG have formed a new board of directors with a new managing director, Mr Trent Lonsdale, with my blessing and full support.”

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