Macquarie Group has signed an agreement to acquire helicopter leasing company Waypoint Leasing and its subsidiaries for around $650m.

Waypoint currently has a fleet of more than 160 helicopters flying in 34 countries.

Global investment and funds management services provider Macquarie Rotorcraft Leasing will integrate Waypoint’s helicopter assets and management platform into its existing portfolio under the agreement.

Macquarie will also retain Waypoint’s current employees.

The deal is expected to be completed in the first quarter of next year subject to bankruptcy court and regulatory approvals as well as other clearances.

“The expertise of our combined resources and human capital will give us an unparalleled foundation to bring stability and a long-term balance to a sector filled with uncertainty.”

Waypoint Leasing CEO Hooman Yazhari said: “This is a momentous step forward in achieving our goal to transform Waypoint.

“With Macquarie’s strong balance sheet and incredible depth in aviation, the integrated platform will be the most dynamic in the industry. The expertise of our combined resources and human capital will give us an unparalleled foundation to bring stability and a long-term balance to a sector filled with uncertainty.”

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A consortium of various current Waypoint lenders has committed to provide $45m of debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing.

This financing will enable Waypoint to have significant liquidity to continue operations during its Chapter 11 bankruptcy case.

Macquarie Group Transportation Finance global head Stephen Cook said: “Combining our own business and asset expertise, this is a transformative development for our current business.

“Macquarie Rotorcraft Leasing intends to build on this acquisition to be a pre-eminent provider of helicopter leasing and financing products.”

Macquarie currently employs around 14,400 people and had more than $381.8bn worth of assets under its management until 31 March 2018.

Waypoint Leasing announced in October it had signed 33 leases, expanding its customer base to 35.

The Ireland-based company delivered its first aircraft to Colombia and Taiwan, supplying three new AW169 helicopters for lease to Emerald Pacific Airlines.