Sellers bank $400K after skydivers smash jump target

Skydive Wanaka could reach 19,000 jumps for FY17. Credit: Skydive Wanaka

Skydive Wanaka has broken through the 17,000 jumps target set by Skydive the Beach allowing the Otago operation’s previous owners to bank $400,000.

Listed Australian adventure tourism company Skydive the Beach bought the company for $10.4m on July 1 last year from Wanaka residents Lloyd and Julie Ferguson.

The purchase price included a $400,000 escrow payment if Skydive Wanaka made 17,000 jumps within a year. That target was reached at the end of May leaving the operation a month to spare.

“It’s great news and we’ll be pushing 19,000 tandem jumps for the year,” said Skydive Wanaka general manager, Blake Mason. The company made around 15,000 jumps the previous financial year.

He put the success down to a new Cessna 208 Caravan 18-passenger plane bought by Skydive the Beach in November for the Wanaka operation. Its previous, smaller PAC P-750 XSTOL plane had gone to Skydive the Beach’s Glenorchy operation.

“The new plane has made all the difference. We’ve been able to get more people out in weather windows and that can mean up to 100 more jumps each day,” said Mason, who leaves the operation to return to the building industry at the end of June when his one-year tie-in expires.

Skydive the Beach told the Australian stock exchange, ASX, this week that it was “pleased to announce that Skydive Wanaka had achieved its target of 17,000 tandem skydives (up from 14,511 in FY16)  as at the end of May 2017 and as such is in line to release the funds from escrow to pay the incentive payment at year’s end”.

The company has been on a buying spree in New Zealand purchasing Queenstown and Glenorchy skydive company NZONE for $17m in 2015 and Skydive Wanaka and Performance Aviation Limited, also in Wanaka, last year.

Skydive the Beach also bought two sections at Pukaki Airport near Twizel last month for an undisclosed sum as it expands its New Zealand operations out of the Queenstown Lakes District.

The company currently has 18 skydive locations in Australia, three in New Zealand, and it recently increased its Great Barrier Reef cruise offering after purchasing Reef Magic Cruises in Cairns for A$15m.

Spurred by booming tourism numbers, the company reported in February an 84% surge in its latest half-year pre-tax profit, boosted by revenue from its New Zealand operations which shot up 362% to $12m from $2.5m for the corresponding previous period.

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