PA Consulting expands aviation sector offering with Nyras acquisition

07 December 2017 5 min. read

PA Consulting Group has acquired Nyras, an international aviation consultancy. Nyras is the only consultancy in the air transport industry authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to undertake commercial and transactional advisory services in the aviation sector.

Nyras will bring new capabilities to PA, and enable the global aviation team to offer additional support to an industry facing significant change. Completion of the acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, while financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The move comes as digital innovation is offering air industry incumbents a choice between being the beneficiaries of disruption, or its victims. This, in turn, has provided the consulting industry with many opportunities to advise on the implementation of new technologies within the sector, which firms are presently making a concerted effort to capitalise upon.

This has seen a multitude of merger and acquisition activity, as numerous consultancies seek to expand their offerings within the sector. Earlier in 2017, Oliver Wyman subsidiary Cavok purchased AVISA for an undisclosed fee, while global aviation group Air Partner likewise snapped up Safeskys. As part of a busy year in M&A for Accenture, the firm also participated in the bonanza, taking aviation consultancy Seabury under its wing in February. PA Consulting expands aviation sector offering with Nyras acquisitionThe pull of the aviation sector is seemingly so strong that PA, whose last major deal can be traced back five years prior to their deal for Nyras. The purchase of 7Safe, which the firm used to bolster its cyber security line, was the last large sum to be wielded by the consultancy since 2012, and the only deal for the past seven years. It is also the first high-profile move by PA since it obtained private equity backing from Carlyle Investment in late 2015, as the firm targets ambitious growth in the coming years.

The strategy and operational consultancy was founded by its present CEO, Richard Davey, a former Global Aviation Leader for PwC, in 2003. Over the following 14 years of business, the firm’s teams have been deployed globally to work on a wide variety of assignments, in order to deploy tailored responses to a diverse array of projects. Among the top aviation industry names that Nyras presently counts among its client base are British Airways, Etihad, the Lufthansa Group, London Stanstead Airport, Birmingham International, and Airbus as well as industry investors including Barclays Capital, and BA Pension Trustees.

The firm has also come to boast significant industry expertise, including three industry leaders, as Non-Executive Directors. Larry Stanley, who is presently Chairman of the organisation, was formerly the CEO of both Aer Lingus and BahamasAir. Deputy Chairman Kevin Hatton is the ex CEO of TUI Airline Management and of GB Airways, while Derek Stevens, a Senior Non-Executive Director, was once the Director and Chief Financial Officer of British Airways, and is a former Non-Executive Director of National Air Traffic Services (NATS), which provides air safety solutions to UK and international airports, airlines and governments.

Unique position

Nyras is also in the unique position of being the only aviation consultancy authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This means that they (and now PA through them) can therefore oversee transactions for business investors dealing with the complex aviation market, offering up a number of lucrative opportunities that many consulting firms would be keen to seize upon. On the other side of the deal, the new partnership gives Nyras the opportunity to scale up its operations as part of PA’s 2,600 person global network, as well as becoming part of PA’s larger aviation business. Nyras clients will subsequently hope to benefit from broader expertise in the aviation consulting areas where PA have already developed an extensive track record.

Speaking on the deal, Chris Lynch, lead of the Transport, Travel and Logistics business at PA, commented, “This agreement will further enhance PA’s offer to new and existing clients particularly in the areas of complex strategic and operational change and business restructuring in aviation. It will also complement our developing position in the related Aerospace and Defence industries, led by Richard Deakin.”

Nyras CEO Richard Davey, who now joins PA to lead the new Aviation business, commented, “We see this as a tremendous opportunity to forge a distinctive partnership; combining two highly experienced global industry teams and capitalising on the wide ranging resources and technology know-how that PA already offers the sector. We believe that our cultures are extremely compatible, enabling the combined team to be successful for current and future clients.”