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News Release

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Bristow Group Reports Financial Results for the Fiscal Year and Quarter Ended March 31, 2008

  • Record revenue for the fiscal year of over $1 billion
  • Record levels of operating income, income from continuing operations, net income and earnings per share

HOUSTON, May 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Bristow Group Inc. (NYSE: BRS) today reported financial results for its fiscal year and quarter ended March 31, 2008.

Highlights include:

For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2008:

  • Bristow's results were the best ever in the Company's history for revenue, operating income, income from continuing operations, net income and earnings per share.
  • Revenue increased 20% to $1.0 billion versus the fiscal year ended March 31, 2007. Revenue gains occurred primarily in our Europe, West Africa, Southeast Asia and South and Central America business units. The strong results were primarily driven by increases in rates for helicopter services, increased demand for helicopter services from our existing customers and the addition of new aircraft, as well as the contribution from Bristow Academy.
  • Operating income increased 34% to $148.7 million from $111.1 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2007, and operating margin improved to 14.7% versus 13.2%. Both operating income and margins benefited primarily from higher helicopter services rates in addition to the items discussed below.
  • Net income increased 40% to $104.0 million from $74.2 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2007. Included in net income for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2008 was the previously announced loss of $5.3 million ($0.17 per diluted share) on the sale of our Grasso business in November 2007, which is presented as discontinued operations.
  • Diluted earnings per share from continuing operations increased 34% to $3.53 from $2.64, while diluted earnings per share on net earnings increased to $3.41 from $2.74.
  • Diluted earnings per share for the fiscal years ended March 31, 2008 and 2007 reflected the assumed conversion of the Company's Mandatory Convertible Preferred Stock, which added approximately 6.5 million and 3.4 million shares, respectively, to our weighted-average diluted shares.
  • The fiscal year ended March 31, 2008 included the following items:
  • Costs in our Other International business unit related to a claim by a former agent whom we terminated in connection with the Internal Review, that decreased operating income by $5.0 million, income from continuing operations by $3.3 million and diluted earnings per share by $0.11.
  • Retirement related expenses for two of our corporate officers that decreased operating income by $1.9 million ($1.1 million recorded in our North America business unit, $0.3 million in our South and Central America business unit and $0.5 million in our corporate results), income from continuing operations by $1.2 million and diluted earnings per share by $0.04.
  • 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. These tax items included:
  • A reversal of accruals for sales tax contingency and employee taxes in West Africa of $5.4 million and $1.3 million, respectively, and a reversal of accruals for employee taxes in Europe of $1.6 million, which are included in direct cost in our consolidated statement of income.
  • A $6.0 million reduction in our provision for income taxes resulting from a benefit of $2.5 million associated with the reduction in the corporate income tax rate in the U.K., and a benefit of $3.5 million associated with an internal reorganization completed during the fiscal year ended March 31, 2008.

For the March 2008 quarter:

  • Revenue increased 20% to $260.3 million versus the March 2007 quarter. Revenue gains occurred primarily in our Europe, West Africa and Southeast Asia business units, driven in large part by increases in rates for helicopter services, increased demand for helicopter services from our existing customers and the addition of new aircraft, as well as the contribution from Bristow Academy.
  • Operating income increased 5% to $33.5 million from $31.8 million in the March 2007 quarter, but operating margin decreased to 12.9% versus 14.7%. The decrease in operating margin was primarily the result of increased costs incurred in the March 2008 quarter associated with the items discussed below.
  • Net income of $27.2 million was relatively unchanged from net income of $27.4 million for the March 2007 quarter.
  • Diluted earnings per share from continuing operations decreased to $0.86 from $0.89, while diluted earnings per share on net earnings decreased to $0.89 from $0.91 for the March 2007 quarter.

The March 2008 quarter included the following items:

  • Costs in our Other International business unit related to a claim by a former agent whom we terminated in connection with the Internal Review, that decreased operating income by $4.5 million, net income by $2.9 million and diluted earnings per share by $0.10.
  • A $4.5 million decrease in equity in earnings from Norsk, our unconsolidated affiliate in Norway, resulting from a decrease in operating results ($1.2 million) and the impact of changes in estimates in the March 2008 quarter ($3.3 million). The changes in estimates related to compensation, maintenance, customer billing and tax items. The lower level of equity earnings from Norsk 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 ($1.1 million recorded in our North America business unit, $0.3 million in our South and Central America business unit and $0.5 million in our corporate results), 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, net income by $7.9 million and diluted earnings per share by $0.26. These tax items included:
  • A reversal of accruals for employee taxes in West Africa of $1.3 million and Europe of $1.6 million, which are included in direct cost in our consolidated statement of income.
  • A $6.0 million reduction in our provision for income taxes (see the discussion of the results for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2008 above).

Capital and Liquidity:

The March 31, 2008 consolidated balance sheet reflected $967.4 million in stockholders' investment and $606.2 million of indebtedness.

  • At the end of fiscal 2008, we had $290.1 million in cash and an undrawn $100 million revolving credit facility.
  • During the fiscal year ended March 31, 2008, we generated $87.6 million of cash from operating activities, $344.7 million in net proceeds from the issuance of 7 1/2% senior notes, $26.6 million of cash from asset dispositions and $22.0 million in net cash from the sale of Grasso.
  • We used $338.0 million for capital expenditures -- primarily for aircraft -- and $14.6 million for the Bristow Academy acquisitions (net of cash acquired).
  • Aircraft purchase commitments totaled $349.3 million for 35 aircraft, with options totaling $802.4 million for 50 aircraft as of March 31, 2008.

"Fiscal 2008 was a year of tremendous achievement and progress for our Company," said William E. Chiles, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bristow Group Inc. "We surpassed the $1 billion mark in revenues for the first time in our history -- up 20 percent from fiscal 2007. Our operating income was up by a third, net income increased by 40 percent, and our total-Company operating margin expanded from 13.2% to 14.7% year over year.

"These results reflect continuing strong demand from our customers in the face of a tightening market for helicopter services. They also reflect the healthy rate increases we were able to achieve throughout the year in West Africa, the North Sea and other important markets, which moves us closer to our goal of stronger revenues and margins across all our geographic regions.

"We continued to upgrade and expand our helicopter fleet during fiscal 2008 to meet the increased demand, with the delivery of 22 new medium and large helicopters. We intend to continue growing our business in fiscal 2009, and our strong balance sheet provides us with the financial flexibility to execute our growth plans," Chiles said.

CONFERENCE CALL

Management will conduct a conference call starting at 10:00 a.m. EDT (9:00 a.m. CDT) on Thursday, May 22, 2008, to review financial results for the fiscal year and quarter ended March 31, 2008. 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 "Q4 2008 Bristow Group Inc. Earnings Conference Call"
  • Replay: A replay via webcast will be available approximately one hour after the call's completion

Via Telephone within the U.S.:

  • Live: Dial toll free (800) 240-6709
  • Replay: A telephone replay will be available through Saturday, June 7, by dialing toll free (800) 405-2236, passcode: 11113906#

Via Telephone outside the U.S.:

  • Live: Dial (303) 262-2130
  • Replay: A telephone replay will be available through Saturday, June 7, by dialing (303) 590-3000, passcode: 11113906#

ABOUT BRISTOW GROUP INC.

Bristow Group Inc. is the leading provider of helicopter services to the worldwide offshore energy industry based on the number of aircraft operated. Through its subsidiaries, affiliates and joint ventures, the Company has major transportation operations in most of the major offshore oil and gas producing regions of the world, including in the North Sea, the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Nigeria and Australia. For more information, visit the Company's website at http://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 revenue, margins and the addition of new aircraft to our fleet. 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, 2008. 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.

     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)
                                   (Unaudited)

                                      Three Months Ended  Twelve Months Ended
                                          March 31,            March 31,
                                     -------------------  -------------------
                                        2007      2008      2007      2008
                                     ---------  --------  --------  ---------
    Gross revenue:
       Operating revenue from
        non-affiliates                $178,931  $226,331  $709,254   $868,929
       Operating revenue from
        affiliates                      13,759    11,218    48,170     49,806
       Reimbursable revenue from
        non-affiliates                  21,450    21,250    80,244     87,325
       Reimbursable revenue from
        affiliates                       2,537     1,486     5,927      6,704
                                     ---------  --------  --------  ---------
                                       216,677   260,285   843,595  1,012,764
                                     ---------  --------  --------  ---------
    Operating expenses:
       Direct costs                    139,387   159,911   548,364    635,327
       Reimbursable expense             23,247    22,519    85,938     91,106
       Depreciation and amortization    10,517    18,013    42,459     54,140
       General and administrative       16,659    31,815    66,321     92,833
       Gain on disposal of assets       (4,909)   (5,469)  (10,615)    (9,390)
                                     ---------  --------  --------  ---------
                                       184,901   226,789   732,467    864,016
                                     ---------  --------  --------  ---------
          Operating income              31,776    33,496   111,128    148,748

    Earnings from unconsolidated
     affiliates, net of losses           6,030     1,745    11,423     12,978
    Interest income                      2,689     2,944     8,716     12,725
    Interest expense                    (2,294)   (7,644)  (10,940)   (23,779)
    Other income (expense), net          2,321      (190)   (8,998)     1,585
                                     ---------  --------  --------  ---------
          Income from continuing
           operations before provision
           for income taxes and
           minority interest            40,522    30,351   111,329    152,257
    Provision for income taxes         (13,391)   (4,491)  (38,781)   (44,526)
    Minority interest                     (151)      475    (1,200)        83
                                     ---------  --------  --------  ---------
       Income from continuing
        operations                      26,980    26,335    71,348    107,814
    Discontinued Operations:
       Income from discontinued
        operations before provision
        for income taxes                   688     1,032     4,409      1,722
       Provision for income taxes on
        discontinued operations           (251)     (145)   (1,585)    (5,544)
                                     ---------  --------  --------  ---------
       Income (loss) from
        discontinued operations            437       887     2,824     (3,822)
                                     ---------  --------  --------  ---------
       Net income                       27,417    27,222    74,172    103,992
       Preferred stock dividends        (3,162)   (3,163)   (6,633)   (12,650)
                                     ---------  --------  --------  ---------
       Net income available to common
        stockholders                   $24,255   $24,059   $67,539    $91,342
                                     =========  ========  ========  =========
    Basic earnings per common share:
      Earnings from continuing
       operations                        $1.01     $0.97     $2.75      $4.00
      Earnings (loss) from
       discontinued operations            0.02      0.04      0.12      (0.16)
                                     ---------  --------  --------  ---------
      Net earnings                       $1.03     $1.01     $2.87      $3.84
                                     =========  ========  ========  =========
    Diluted earnings per common share:
      Earnings from continuing
       operations                        $0.89     $0.86     $2.64      $3.53
      Earnings (loss) from
       discontinued operations            0.02      0.03      0.10      (0.12)
                                     ---------  --------  --------  ---------
      Net earnings                       $0.91     $0.89     $2.74      $3.41
                                     =========  ========  ========  =========



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

                                                 March 31,         March 31,
                                                   2007              2008
                                                ----------        ----------
                  ASSETS
     Current assets:
       Cash and cash equivalents                  $184,188          $290,050
       Accounts receivable from non-affiliates     147,608           204,599
       Accounts receivable from affiliates          17,199            11,316
       Inventories                                 157,563           176,239
       Prepaid expenses and other                   17,387            24,177
       Current assets from discontinued
        operations                                  12,029                --
                                                ----------        ----------
         Total current assets                      535,974           706,381
     Investments in unconsolidated affiliates       46,828            52,467
     Property and equipment -- at cost:
       Land and buildings                           51,785            60,056
       Aircraft and equipment                    1,139,781         1,428,996
                                                ----------        ----------
                                                 1,191,566         1,489,052
       Less: accumulated depreciation and
        amortization                              (300,045)         (316,514)
                                                ----------        ----------
                                                   891,521         1,172,538
     Goodwill                                        6,630            15,676
     Other assets                                   10,725            30,293
     Long-term assets from discontinued
      operations                                    14,125                --
                                                ----------        ----------
                                                $1,505,803        $1,977,355
                                                ==========        ==========
       LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS'
        INVESTMENT
     Current liabilities:
       Accounts payable                            $40,459           $49,650
       Accrued wages, benefits and related taxes    36,390            35,523
       Income taxes payable                          3,412             5,862
       Other accrued taxes                           9,042             1,589
       Deferred revenues                            16,283            15,415
       Accrued maintenance and repairs              12,309            13,250
       Accrued interest                              4,511             5,656
       Other accrued liabilities                    17,151            22,235
       Deferred taxes                               17,611             9,238
       Short-term borrowings and current
        maturities of long-term debt                 4,852             6,541
       Current liabilities from
        discontinued operations                      5,948                --
                                                ----------        ----------
         Total current liabilities                 167,968           164,959
     Long-term debt, less current maturities       254,230           599,677
     Accrued pension liabilities                   113,069           134,156
     Other liabilities and deferred credits         17,345            14,805
     Deferred taxes                                 76,089            91,747
     Minority interest                               5,445             4,570
     Commitments and contingencies
     Stockholders' investment:
       5.50% mandatory convertible
        preferred stock                            222,554           222,554
       Common stock                                    236               239
       Additional paid-in capital                  169,353           186,390
       Retained earnings                           515,589           606,931
       Accumulated other comprehensive loss        (36,075)          (48,673)
                                                ----------        ----------
                                                   871,657           967,441
                                                ----------        ----------
                                                $1,505,803        $1,977,355
                                                ==========        ==========



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

                                       Three Months Ended  Twelve Months Ended
                                           March 31,            March 31,
                                     -------------------  -------------------
                                         2007     2008       2007      2008
                                      --------- --------  --------  ---------
    Flight hours (excludes Bristow
     Academy and unconsolidated
     affiliates):
       North America                     34,304   33,250   152,803    147,802
       South and Central America          9,528    7,845    38,417     40,439
       Europe                            10,605   10,403    42,377     44,343
       West Africa                        8,329    9,561    36,124     38,170
       Southeast Asia                     3,340    4,451    12,668     16,029
       Other International                2,199    1,886     9,318      8,730
                                      --------- --------  --------  ---------
                 Consolidated total      68,305   67,396   291,707    295,513
                                      ========= ========  ========  =========

    Gross revenue:
       North America                    $56,311  $57,393  $239,978   $237,658
       South and Central America         13,498   14,400    52,820     63,863
       Europe                            79,368   89,828   297,934    361,744
       West Africa                       33,133   45,401   131,141    170,770
       Southeast Asia                    20,557   34,849    73,404    111,117
       Other International               13,404   12,143    46,005     47,518
       EH Centralized Operations          3,468    4,991    13,896     22,366
       Bristow Academy                       --    4,571        --     14,787
       Intrasegment eliminations         (3,563)  (3,390)  (12,058)   (17,195)
       Corporate                            501       99       475        136
                                      --------- --------  --------  ---------
                 Consolidated total     216,677  260,285   843,595  1,012,764
                                      ========= ========  ========  =========

    Operating income (loss):
       North America                     $6,964   $4,101   $29,210    $32,559
       South and Central America          4,484    2,462    15,825     14,852
       Europe                            15,642   20,183    52,819     77,348
       West Africa                        5,779    6,633    18,798     31,941
       Southeast Asia                     4,695    8,044    13,370     23,754
       Other International                2,380   (5,041)    9,309       (283)
       EH Centralized Operations         (6,964)     539   (13,580)   (13,391)
       Bristow Academy                       --     (197)       --       (809)
       Gain on disposal of assets         4,909    5,469    10,615      9,390
       Corporate                         (6,113)  (8,697)  (25,238)   (26,613)
                                      --------- --------  --------  ---------
                 Consolidated total     $31,776  $33,496  $111,128   $148,748
                                      ========= ========  ========  =========

    Operating margin:
       North America                      12.4%     7.1%     12.2%      13.7%
       South and Central America          33.2%    17.1%     30.0%      23.3%
       Europe                             19.7%    22.5%     17.7%      21.4%
       West Africa                        17.4%    14.6%     14.3%      18.7%
       Southeast Asia                     22.8%    23.1%     18.2%      21.4%
       Other International                17.8%   -41.5%     20.2%      -0.6%
       Bristow Academy                     N/A     -4.3%      N/A       -5.5%
                 Consolidated total       14.7%    12.9%     13.2%      14.7%

SOURCE Bristow Group Inc. 05/21/2008 CONTACT: Linda McNeill, Investor Relations of Bristow Group Inc. +1-713-267-7622 Web site: http://www.bristowgroup.com (BRS)