Offshore helicopter operator Bristow seeks Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

Bristow Group, a helicopter services provider for the offshore oil and gas industry, has voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas.

A Bristow helicopter; Author: Ronnie Robertson – under the CC BY-SA 2.0 license

Announcing the filing on Saturday, May 11 Bristow said it intended to use the proceedings to restructure and strengthen its balance sheet and achieve a more sustainable debt profile, while continuing to provide industrial aviation services to its clients well into the future.

All of Bristow’s businesses are operating in the ordinary course and are anticipated to continue to do so for the duration of the Chapter 11 process. The Chapter 11 filings pertain to certain of Bristow’s legal entities in the United States and two of its Cayman Islands subsidiaries.

Bristow’s other non-U.S. entities, including those holding Bristow’s non-U.S. air operating certificates (AOCs), are not included in the Chapter 11 filings.

L. Don Miller, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bristow Group Inc., said, “After working diligently with our advisors on a thorough review of strategic financial alternatives, the Board of Directors and management concluded that the best path forward for Bristow and its stakeholders is to seek Chapter 11 protection. This process will allow us to strengthen our balance sheet, achieve a lower and more sustainable debt level and emerge as a stronger company. We have the support of the overwhelming majority of our parent company senior secured noteholders, with whom we have entered into a Restructuring Support Agreement that will help to de-lever our balance sheet, and we are actively working with other important stakeholders as we enter this process.”

Miller continued, “We expect to execute a prompt and efficient reorganization, and to emerge from this restructuring process as a stronger company that is an even better business partner, employer and trusted service provider.”

To ensure its ability to continue operating in the ordinary course of business, Bristow has filed customary motions with the Bankruptcy Court seeking a variety of “first-day” relief for the filing entities, including authority to pay employee wages and benefits, vendors and suppliers in the ordinary course for goods and services provided after the Petition Date.

In addition to executing the Restructuring Support Agreement with the company, certain senior secured noteholders made a $75 million term loan to the company prior to the court filing, and provided a commitment for a further $75 million in debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing that would be available upon court approval. The financing package provides Bristow with capital that enables the company to fund its global operations and make continued investments in safety and reliability during the Chapter 11 reorganization proceedings.

The following eight entities are included in the filing: Bristow Group Inc., BHNA Holdings Inc., Bristow Alaska Inc., Bristow Helicopters Inc., Bristow U.S. Leasing LLC, Bristow U.S. LLC, BriLog Leasing Ltd. and Bristow Equipment Leasing Ltd.

Notice from NYSE

Prior to Bristow’s filing for the Chapter 11, the company on May 7 received a continued listing standard notice from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) because the average closing price of its common stock over a prior 30 consecutive trading day period had fallen below $1.00 per share, which is the minimum average closing price per share required to maintain listing on the NYSE.

Under the NYSE rules, Bristow has a period of six months following the receipt of notice to regain compliance.


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