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News Release

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Bristow Group Reports Financial Results for the Fiscal Year 2009 Fourth Quarter and Year-Ended March 31, 2009

HOUSTON, May 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Bristow Group Inc. (NYSE: BRS) today reported financial results for the fiscal year 2009 fourth quarter and year-ended March 31, 2009.

Highlights include:

For the March 2009 quarter:

  • Revenue increased 6% versus the March 2008 quarter to $275.0 million. Revenue improvements occurred across most of our business units, but most significantly in our Europe, West Africa and Latin America business units. These were driven in large part by increases in rates, the addition of new aircraft and the consolidation of Bristow Norway (formerly Norsk Helikopters AS), our Norwegian affiliate, effective October 31, 2008.
  • Operating income increased 28% to $42.9 million from $33.5 million in the March 2008 quarter.
  • Income from continuing operations was unchanged at $26.3 million for the March 2009 and 2008 quarters.
  • Diluted earnings per share from continuing operations decreased to $0.74 from $0.86 in the March 2008 quarter. Diluted earnings per share for the March 2009 and 2008 quarters reflect the assumed conversion of our Mandatory Convertible Preferred Stock, which will convert to our common shares in September 2009 and added approximately 6.5 million shares to our weighted-average share count in both quarters. Primarily as a result of our June 2008 offering, the weighted-average share count rose by 17% in the March 2009 quarter compared to the same period a year ago.
  • Our results for the March 2009 quarter were unfavorably impacted by the strengthening U.S. dollar versus certain foreign currencies. The changes in foreign currency exchange rates resulted in a decrease in our operating income of $6.3 million, income from continuing operations of $4.9 million and diluted earnings per share of $0.14. Excluding the impact of changes in foreign currency exchange rates, diluted earnings per share from continuing operations would have been $0.88 for the March 2009 quarter.
  • The March 2009 quarter also included the following significant items:
    • The net reduction in expense in Australia, part of our Southeast Asia business unit, upon resolution of a local tax matter, which was partially offset by expense recorded for other local tax matters. These items collectively resulted in an increase in operating income of $1.3 million, income from continuing operations of $0.8 million and diluted earnings per share of $0.02.
    • A reduction in maintenance expense in our Eastern Hemisphere ("EH") Centralized Operations business unit associated with a credit resulting from the renegotiation of a "power by the hour" (PBH) contract for aircraft maintenance with a third party provider, which increased operating income by $6.8 million, income from continuing operations by $4.4 million and diluted earnings per share by $0.12.
    • An increase in our overall effective tax rate to 35.0% resulting from a one time provision for potential foreign taxes and a settlement of tax contingencies related to certain foreign income taxes, which decreased income from continuing operations by $4.7 million and diluted earnings per share by $0.13.
  • Excluding the impact of these significant items, diluted earnings per share from continuing operations would have been $0.73 for the March 2009 quarter.
  • Financial results for the March 2008 quarter included:
    • Costs in our Other International business unit related to a claim by a former agent, whom we terminated in connection with an internal review, that decreased operating income by $4.5 million, income from continuing operations by $2.9 million and diluted earnings per share by $0.10.
    • A $4.5 million decrease in equity in earnings of Bristow Norway. The lower level of equity earnings from Bristow Norway decreased income from continuing operations by $2.9 million and diluted earnings per share by $0.10.
    • Retirement related expenses for two of our corporate officers that decreased operating income by $1.9 million, income from continuing operations by $1.2 million and diluted earnings per share by $0.04.
    • Tax items that increased operating income by $2.9 million, income from continuing operations by $7.9 million and diluted earnings per share by $0.26.
  • Excluding these items, diluted earnings per share from continuing operations would have been $0.84 for the March 2008 quarter.

For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2009:

  • Revenue increased 12% versus the fiscal year ended March 31, 2008 to $1.1 billion. Revenue increased for all of our business units, but most significantly in our Europe, West Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America business units. These revenue increases were driven in large part by increases in rates, the addition of new aircraft and the consolidation of Bristow Norway.
  • Operating income increased 27% to $188.6 million from $148.7 million for the prior fiscal year.
  • Income from continuing operations increased 16% to $124.6 million from $107.8 million for the prior fiscal year.
  • Diluted earnings per share from continuing operations increased to $3.61 from $3.53 a year ago. Diluted earnings per share for the fiscal years ended March 31, 2009 and 2008 reflect the assumed conversion of our Mandatory Convertible Preferred Stock, which will convert to our common shares in September 2009 and added approximately 6.5 million shares to our weighted-average share count in both fiscal years. Primarily as a result of our June 2008 offering, the weighted-average share count rose by 13% in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2009 compared to the prior fiscal year.
  • As was the case for the March 2009 quarter, results for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2009 were unfavorably impacted by the strengthening U.S. dollar. The changes in foreign currency exchange rates resulted in a decrease in our operating income of $12.0 million, income from continuing operations of $9.2 million and diluted earnings per share of $0.27. Excluding the impact of changes in foreign currency exchange rates, diluted earnings per share from continuing operations would have been $3.88 for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2009.
  • The fiscal year ended March 31, 2009 also included the following significant items:
    • The gain on the sale of 53 small aircraft, related inventory, spare parts and offshore fuel equipment in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico (the "GOM Asset Sale") on October 30, 2008, which increased operating income by $36.2 million, income from continuing operations by $23.4 million and diluted earnings per share by $0.68.
    • The impact of hurricanes in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico during the fiscal year ended March 31, 2009, which resulted in a decrease in flight activity and an increase in costs, which reduced operating income by $2.4 million, income from continuing operations by $2.0 million and diluted earnings per share by $0.06.
    • The April 2008 restructuring of our ownership interests in affiliates in Mexico, part of our Latin America business unit, which resulted in an increase in operating income of $0.8 million, income from continuing operations of $3.7 million and diluted earnings per share of $0.11.
    • The recognition of expense in Australia, part of our Southeast Asia business unit, related to local tax matters, increases in compensation costs retroactive to prior fiscal years and one time costs associated with introducing new aircraft into this market and moving aircraft within this market, which resulted in a reduction in operating income of $4.1 million, income from continuing operations of $2.9 million and diluted earnings per share of $0.08.
    • A reduction in maintenance expense in our EH Centralized Operations business unit associated with the PBH contract credit mentioned above, which increased operating income by $6.8 million, income from continuing operations by $4.8 million and diluted earnings per share by $0.14.
  • Excluding the impact of these significant items, diluted earnings per share from continuing operations would have been $2.82 for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2009.
  • In addition to the costs associated with termination of an agent and retirement of two of our corporate officers discussed above, financial results for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2008 included tax items that increased operating income by $8.3 million, income from continuing operations by $11.4 million and diluted earnings per share by $0.37.
  • Excluding these items, diluted earnings per share from continuing operations would have been $3.31 for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2008.

Capital and Liquidity

  • At March 31, 2009, key balance sheet items and capital commitments were:
    • $1.2 billion in stockholders' investment and $746 million of indebtedness,
    • $301 million in cash and a $100 million undrawn revolving credit facility, and
    • Aircraft purchase commitments totaled $245 million for 24 aircraft.
  • During the fiscal year ended March 31, 2009, key cash flow items were:
    • $128 million of cash from operating activities,
    • $102 million of proceeds from sales of assets, including the GOM Asset Sale,
    • $336 million in net proceeds from the sale of convertible senior notes and common stock, and
    • $455 million used on capital expenditures - primarily for aircraft and $17 million for acquisitions.

CEO Remarks

"We are pleased with both our fiscal fourth quarter and year-end results. Despite the challenging economic environment throughout the year, and the significant decline in energy prices during the second half, 2009 was a record year for Bristow in terms of revenue and net income. In the fourth quarter, we continued to experience good activity levels, particularly in Nigeria, the North Sea, Mexico and Brazil. This was driven by stable pricing and the continued upgrade of our fleet to larger, more efficient and more profitable aircraft," said William E. Chiles, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bristow Group Inc.

"The demand for our services has been negatively affected by lower E&P spending, but we are less affected than other oil service companies because of our production focus, fleet size and our geographic and customer diversity. To date we've been able to maintain our pricing structure in this challenging environment.

"We believe we have the liquidity and financial flexibility to weather this uncertain operating environment and the ability to take advantage of attractive investment opportunities which may arise," Chiles concluded.

CONFERENCE CALL

Management will conduct a conference call starting at 10:00 a.m. EDT (9:00 a.m. CDT) on Thursday, May 21, 2009, to review financial results for the March 2009 quarter. The conference call can be accessed as follows:

Via Webcast:

  • Visit Bristow Group's investor relations Web page at http://www.bristowgroup.com
  • Live: Click on the link for "Bristow Group Fiscal 2009 Fourth Quarter Earnings Conference Call"


  • Replay: A replay via webcast will be available approximately one hour after the call's completion and will be accessible for approximately 90 days

Via Telephone within the U.S.:

  • Live: Dial toll free (877) 941-2332


  • Replay: A telephone replay will be available through June 4, 2009 and may be accessed by calling toll free (800) 406-7325, passcode: 4072528#

Via Telephone outside the U.S.:

  • Live: Dial (480) 629-9723


  • Replay: A telephone replay will be available through June 4, 2009 and may be accessed by calling (303) 590-3030, passcode: 4072528#

ABOUT BRISTOW GROUP INC.

Bristow Group Inc. is a leading provider of helicopter services to the worldwide offshore energy industry. Through its subsidiaries, affiliates and joint ventures, the Company has significant operations in most major offshore oil and gas producing regions of the world, including the North Sea, the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Nigeria, Australia and Latin America. For more information, visit the Company's website at www.bristowgroup.com.

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS DISCLOSURE

Statements contained in this news release that state the Company's or management's intentions, hopes, beliefs, expectations or predictions of the future are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements include statements regarding the impact of activity levels, commodity prices, customer demand, future operations, future liquidity and growth plans and opportunities. It is important to note that the Company's actual results could differ materially from those projected in such forward-looking statements. Additional information concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements is contained from time to time in the Company's SEC filings, including but not limited to the Company's annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2009. Bristow Group Inc. disclaims any intention or obligation to revise any forward-looking statements, including financial estimates, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Contact:

Linda McNeill, Investor Relations

    (713) 267-7622

                               (financial tables follow)


                           BRISTOW GROUP INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
                            CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME
                        (In thousands, except per share amounts)

                                     Three Months Ended  Twelve  Months Ended
                                           March 31,           March 31,
                                     ------------------  --------------------
                                       2008      2009       2008       2009
                                     -------   -------    -------    --------
                                         (Unaudited)
    Gross revenue:
      Operating revenue from
       non-affiliates               $226,331   $237,909   $868,929   $964,060
      Operating revenue from
       affiliates                     11,218     12,412     49,806     64,904
      Reimbursable revenue from
       non-affiliates                 21,250     23,412     87,325     99,608
      Reimbursable revenue from
       affiliates                      1,486      1,272      6,704      5,231
                                    --------   --------  ---------  ---------
                                     260,285    275,005  1,012,764  1,133,803
                                    --------   --------  ---------  ---------

    Operating expense:
      Direct cost                    159,911    166,971    635,327    718,375
      Reimbursable expense            22,519     23,550     91,106    102,987
      Depreciation and amortization   18,013     18,411     54,140     65,514
      General and administrative      31,815     24,880     92,833    103,656
      Gain on GOM Asset Sale               -      1,564          -    (36,216)
      (Gain) loss on disposal of
       other assets                   (5,469)    (3,224)    (9,390)    (9,089)
                                    --------   --------  ---------  ---------
                                     226,789    232,152    864,016    945,227
                                    --------   --------  ---------  ---------
      Operating income                33,496     42,853    148,748    188,576

Earnings from unconsolidated

affiliates, net of losses 1,745 4,947 12,978 13,224

    Interest income                    2,944        265     12,725      6,004
    Interest expense                  (7,644)    (8,522)   (23,779)   (33,022)

Other income (expense), net (190) 1,128 1,585 3,368

                                    --------   --------  ---------  ---------
      Income from continuing
       operations before provision
       for income taxes and minority
       interest                       30,351     40,671    152,257    178,150

Provision for income taxes (4,491) (14,249) (44,526) (51,269)

    Minority interest                    475       (137)        83     (2,327)
                                    --------   --------  ---------  ---------
      Income from continuing
       operations                     26,335     26,285    107,814    124,554
    Discontinued operations:
      Income (loss) from discontinued
       operations before provision
       for income taxes                1,032          -      1,722       (379)
      (Provision) benefit for
       income taxes on discontinued
       Operations                       (145)         -     (5,544)       133
                                    --------   --------  ---------  ---------
      Earnings (loss) from
       discontinued operations           887          -     (3,822)      (246)
                                    --------   --------  ---------  ---------
      Net income                      27,222     26,285    103,992    124,308
      Preferred stock dividends       (3,163)    (3,163)   (12,650)   (12,650)
                                    --------   --------  ---------  ---------
      Net income available to
       common stockholders           $24,059    $23,122    $91,342   $111,658
                                    ========   ========  =========  =========

Basic earnings per common share:

      Earnings from continuing
       operations                      $0.97      $0.79      $4.00      $4.01
      Earnings (loss) from
       discontinued operations          0.04          -      (0.16)     (0.01)
                                    --------   --------  ---------  ---------
      Net earnings                     $1.01      $0.79      $3.84      $4.00
                                    ========   ========  =========  =========

Diluted earnings per common share:

      Earnings from continuing
       operations                      $0.86      $0.74      $3.53      $3.61
      Earnings (loss) from
       discontinued operations          0.03          -      (0.12)     (0.01)
                                    --------   --------  ---------  ---------
      Net earnings                     $0.89      $0.74      $3.41      $3.60
                                    ========   ========  =========  =========

Weighted average number of

common shares outstanding:

        Basic                         23,909     29,110     23,772     27,884
        Diluted                       30,644     35,748     30,514     34,542


                         BRISTOW GROUP INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
                            CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
                                 (In thousands)

                                                      March 31,      March 31,
                                                         2008           2009
                                                      ---------      ---------
    ASSETS
    Current assets:
      Cash and cash equivalents                       $290,050       $300,969
      Accounts receivable from non-affiliates          204,599        194,030
      Accounts receivable from affiliates               11,316         22,644
      Inventories                                      176,239        165,438
      Prepaid expenses and other                        24,177         20,226
                                                    ----------     ----------
        Total current assets                           706,381        703,307
    Investment in unconsolidated affiliates             52,467         20,265

Property and equipment - at cost:

      Land and buildings                                60,056         68,961
      Aircraft and equipment                         1,428,996      1,823,011
                                                    ----------     ----------
                                                     1,489,052      1,891,972
      Less - Accumulated depreciation and
       Amortization                                   (316,514)      (350,515)
                                                    ----------     ----------
                                                     1,172,538      1,541,457
    Goodwill                                            15,676         44,654
    Other assets                                        30,293         25,590
                                                    ----------     ----------
                                                    $1,977,355     $2,335,273
                                                    ==========     ==========

LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' INVESTMENT

Current liabilities:

      Accounts payable                                 $49,650        $44,892
      Accrued wages, benefits and related taxes         35,523         39,939
      Income taxes payable                               5,862              -
      Other accrued taxes                                1,589          3,357
      Deferred revenues                                 15,415         17,593
      Accrued maintenance and repairs                   13,250         10,317
      Accrued interest                                   5,656          6,434
      Other accrued liabilities                         22,235         20,164
      Deferred taxes                                     9,238          6,195
      Short-term borrowings and current maturities
       of long-term debt                                 6,541          5,972
                                                    ----------     ----------
        Total current liabilities                      164,959        154,863
    Long-term debt, less current maturities            599,677        739,874
    Accrued pension liabilities                        134,156         81,380
    Other liabilities and deferred credits              14,805         16,741
    Deferred taxes                                      91,747        119,589
    Minority interest                                    4,570         11,200

Commitments and contingencies

Stockholders' investment:

      5.50% mandatory convertible preferred stock      222,554        222,554
      Common stock                                         239            291
      Additional paid-in capital                       186,390        421,391
      Retained earnings                                606,931        719,844
      Accumulated other comprehensive loss             (48,673)      (152,454)
                                                    ----------     ----------
                                                       967,441      1,211,626
                                                    ----------     ----------
                                                    $1,977,355     $2,335,273
                                                    ==========     ==========


                          BRISTOW GROUP INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
                               SELECTED OPERATING DATA
                   (In thousands, except flight hours and percentages)

                                     Three Months Ended    Twelve Months Ended
                                           March 31,            March 31,
                                     ------------------    -------------------
                                       2008      2009       2008       2009
                                     -------    -------    ------    ---------
                                        (Unaudited)

Flight hours (excludes Bristow

Academy and unconsolidated

     affiliates):
        U.S. Gulf of Mexico           32,018    19,603    139,938    117,686
        Arctic                         1,232     1,082      7,864      8,493
        Latin America                  7,845    14,646     40,439     51,404
        Europe                        10,403    13,681     44,343     47,493
        West Africa                    9,561     9,898     38,170     39,027
        Southeast Asia                 4,451     4,280     16,029     18,503
        Other International            1,886     1,540      8,730      7,358
                                    --------  -------- ---------- ----------
          Consolidated total          67,396    64,730    295,513    289,964
                                    ========  ======== ========== ==========

    Gross revenue:
        U.S. Gulf of Mexico          $54,664   $45,006   $219,299   $222,701
        Arctic                         2,037     2,637     14,254     16,725
        Latin America                 14,400    20,569     63,863     80,533
        WH Centralized Operations        692      (453)     4,105      7,850
        Europe                        89,828   105,294    361,744    401,504
        West Africa                   45,401    51,639    170,770    192,427
        Southeast Asia                34,849    29,930    111,117    129,073
        Other International           12,143    11,139     47,518     51,598
        EH Centralized Operations      4,991     7,167     22,366     31,757
        Bristow Academy                4,571     7,113     14,787     24,399
        Intrasegment eliminations     (3,390)   (5,092)   (17,195)   (24,848)
        Corporate                         99        56        136         84
                                    --------  -------- ---------- ----------
          Consolidated total        $260,285  $275,005 $1,012,764 $1,133,803
                                    ========  ======== ========== ==========

    Operating income:
        U.S. Gulf of Mexico           $7,230    $6,732    $34,131    $31,705
        Arctic                          (281)       (5)     1,762      2,598
        Latin America                  2,205     4,803     13,618     21,972
        WH Centralized Operations     (2,591)   (4,172)    (2,100)    (6,453)
        Europe                        20,183    18,988     77,348     74,773
        West Africa                    6,633    18,603     31,941     46,310
        Southeast Asia                 8,044     9,545     23,754     19,889
        Other International           (5,041)    2,008       (283)     7,918
        EH Centralized Operations        539    (8,874)   (13,391)   (27,723)
        Bristow Academy                 (197)      534       (809)       753
        Gain on GOM Asset Sale             -    (1,564)         -     36,216
        Gain (loss) on disposal of
         other assets                  5,469     3,224      9,390      9,089
        Corporate                     (8,697)   (6,969)   (26,613)   (28,471)
                                    --------  -------- ---------- ----------
          Consolidated total         $33,496   $42,853   $148,748   $188,576
                                    ========  ======== ========== ==========

    Operating margin:
        U.S. Gulf of Mexico             13.2 %    15.0 %     15.6 %     14.2 %
        Arctic                         (13.8)%    (0.2)%     12.4 %     15.5 %
        Latin America                   15.3 %    23.4 %     21.3 %     27.3 %
        Europe                          22.5 %    18.0 %     21.4 %     18.6 %
        West Africa                     14.6 %    36.0 %     18.7 %     24.1 %
        Southeast Asia                  23.1 %    31.9 %     21.4 %     15.4 %
        Other International            (41.5)%    18.0 %     (0.6)%     15.3 %
        Bristow Academy                 (4.3)%     7.5 %     (5.5)%      3.1 %
          Consolidated total            12.9 %    15.6 %     14.7 %     16.6 %


SOURCE: Bristow Group Inc.

CONTACT: Linda McNeill, Investor Relations of Bristow Group Inc.,
+1-713-267-7622
Web Site: http://www.bristowgroup.com