Aviall, Inc. was formed by the 1981 merger of Burbank, California-based Aviation Power Supply Inc. (APS) and Cooper Airmotive, formerly a division of Cooper Industries Inc. These two companies each had numerous precursors.
Cooper Airmotive's history dates back to the formation of Edward F. Booth Inc. in 1932. This was launched as an aircraft dealership at Dallas's Love Field by former Army flyer "Doc" Booth. The company became Booth-Henning Inc. in 1934 when Texaco avgas salesman Hall Henning joined the business. It was renamed Southwest Airmotive Company in 1940 after an investment bank acquired control.
There were several other early predecessors. One was Standard Aircraft Equipment, which mechanic Louis Bollo formed in 1933 from Bendix's old operations at Roosevelt Field in Long Island. Another future component, Van Dusen Aircraft Supplies, was formed during World War II by G.B. Van Dusen, who delivered parts himself by plane. It acquired several competitors in the 1960s. Aviation Power Supply was established in 1952 by three aircraft mechanics. Focusing on the commercial market at first, it eventually expanded to include engines for business jets and helicopters.
Cooper Industries acquired Southwest Airmotive in 1973, and the next year merged it with Dallas Airmotive, which had been acquired in 1970. Standard Aircraft Equipment was added in 1975.
At the time of its creation in 1981, Aviall, Inc. was probably best known as a fixed base operator (FBO) at three Dallas airports, fueling and servicing general aviation planes. However, it was also the world's largest independent jet engine maintenance company. Overhauling engines for several southern airlines and industrial users accounted for about two-thirds of revenues.
The relatively small Aviation Power Supply (APS) had to borrow heavily to finance the $150 million acquisition of Cooper Airmotive that formed Aviall in 1981.
Aviall had a successful initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in the fall of 1984. Within a year, though, Ryder System Inc.
announced it was buying the company for $125 million.
Aviall bought USAir
's Pacific Southwest Airmotive subsidiary in 1991.
Aviall and Aviall Services became Delaware corporations in 1993 and Ryder System, Inc. spun off the companies to its shareholders in December of that year. In 1993, Aviall acquired Memphis-based Inventory Locator Service (ILS), which had started operations in May 1979. Formed by John Williams, founder of The Memphis Group, ILS provided a business-to-business marketplace for its subscribers to search among millions of parts and negotiate orders. Users could connect via cheap, "dumb" terminals rather than expensive mainframes. Much business was done by phone and fax before the development of the Internet.
Aviation Sales, Aviall's used parts distribution subsidiary, was sold off in December 1994. Aviall also divested its engine repair and overhaul businesses between 1994 and 1996. Together, these had about 1,900, or two-thirds of Aviall's total. Aviall's small engine subsidiaries were sold off in the spring of 1995. Privately owned Dallas Airmotive bought several of these. Greenwich Air Services Inc. (GASI) of Miami bought Aviall's Commercial Engine Services Division for around $270 million in early 1996, making GASI one of the largest independent MRO (maintenance, repair, and overhaul) companies in the world.
Nolan Acquisition Partners, then Aviall's largest shareholder with 9 percent of shares, offered to buy the company for $280 million in April 1999. This led to a fruitless, several-month search for a strategic buyer, as opposed to a financial one. The company's market capitalization was reported between $200 million and $300 million at the time. Aviall's board ultimately opted to keep the company independent.
Close Up of Vignette:
Common Stock, specimen, late 1900’sPrinter: American Bank Note Company Dimensions:
8” (h) x 12” (w)State: TX-Texas Subject Matter: Aviation and Aerospace
| Specimen Pieces Vignette Topic(s): Female Subject
| Aviation Theme Condition:
No fold lines, punch hole cancels in signature areas and body, very crisp.