Bristow reports numbers for 2012 Q3 and nine months to 31-Dec-11

Bristow reports numbers for 2012 Q3 and nine months to 31-Dec-11

3-Feb-2012 Source: Bristow Group

Bristow Group Inc. (NYSE: BRS) today reported net income for theDecember 2011 quarter of $25.5 million, or $0.70 per diluted share, compared to net income of $41.8 million, or$1.13 per diluted share, in the same period a year ago.  Adjusted net income, which excludes special items and asset disposition effects, was $27.8 million, or $0.76 per diluted share, for the December 2011 quarter, an increase from$26.3 million, or $0.71 per diluted share, for the December 2010 quarter.

Operating revenue for the December 2011 quarter increased 5% to $296.7 million from $282.6 million in theDecember 2010 quarter, with revenue growth in our Europe and West Africa Business Units being partially offset by lower revenue in our North America, Australia and Other International Business Units.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (“Adjusted EBITDA”), which excludes special items and asset disposition effects, was $68.9 million for the December 2011 quarter compared to $64.4 million in the same period a year ago.  Net cash provided by operating activities increased 67% to $76.9 million in theDecember 2011 quarter from $46.2 million in the December 2010 quarter and grew 68% to $193.9 million for the nine months ended December 31, 2011 from $115.4 million in the prior fiscal year-to-date period.

The December 2011 quarter’s financial performance was negatively affected by the following:

  • A $2.2 million decrease in earnings from unconsolidated affiliates, primarily resulting from the unfavorable impact of foreign currency exchange rate changes on earnings from our investment in Lider in Brazil, which is included in our Other International Business Unit, and
  • A $2.8 million loss on disposal of assets due primarily to $2.3 million of impairment charges recorded to reduce the carrying value of two aircraft held for sale.

 

Adjusted operating income and adjusted EBITDA improved over the December 2010 quarter primarily due to the revenue growth in Europe and West Africa, but also due to lower incentive compensation cost at the corporate level.

We continue to see significant growth opportunities across most of our major markets as tender activity is robust and as new work has started in the December 2011 quarter, with more work commencing in the March 2012 quarter and in fiscal year 2013.

“Results for the December quarter were in line with expectations that our second half of fiscal year 2012 will be better than the first half,” said William E. Chiles, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bristow Group.  “Record operating revenue was driven by strength in Nigeria and the North Sea with revenue and margins in Australiaimproving sequentially combined with a slow but steady recovery in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.”

“Going forward, we are still expecting improvement in our financial results for the rest of fiscal year 2012 driven by stronger levels of activity in our Europe, Australia and Other International Business Units; however, management is disappointed with our operating results and is taking significant action to address the bottom line.”  Mr. Chiles added, “That being said, our record operating cash flows are providing us with higher levels of financial flexibility and are key to providing a more balanced return for our shareholders through dividends and a well-managed share buyback program.”

THIRD QUARTER FY2012 RESULTS

  • Operating revenue increased 5% to $296.7 million compared to $282.6 million in the same period a year ago.
  • Operating income decreased 6.6% to $43.6 million in the December 2011 quarter compared to $46.6 million in the December 2010 quarter.  Adjusted operating income increased 7.5% to $46.4 million compared to $43.2 million in the December 2010 quarter.
  • Net income decreased by 38.9% to $25.5 million, or $0.70 per share, compared to $41.8 million, or $1.13 per diluted share, in the December 2010 quarter.  Adjusted net income increased 5.7% to $27.8 million, or $0.76per diluted share, compared to $26.3 million, or $0.71 per diluted share, in the December 2010 quarter.
  • Adjusted EBITDA increased 7% to $68.9 million for the December 2011 quarter compared to $64.4 million in the same period a year ago.

 

Our Europe Business Unit saw an increase in flying activity over the prior year quarter as a result of new contracts with existing clients. However, operating margin decreased slightly despite the increase in operating revenue as a result of increased salaries and benefits, maintenance, insurance, fuel, depreciation and lease costs.

Our West Africa Business Unit saw increased flying activity over the prior year quarter as activity under new and existing contracts plus ad hoc flying more than offset the impact of the non-renewal of a major contract in the prior fiscal year.  Despite the increase in operating revenue, operating income and margin for West Africa decreased in the December 2011 quarter primarily as a result of an increase in operating expense and the non-renewal of the major contract in the prior fiscal year.

Our North America Business Unit continues to see benefit from an increase in activity as drilling and completion permits are being issued; however, the pace of the new work coming on line is uncertain.  We continue to see benefit from a reduction in cost structure for this business unit.

Our Australia Business Unit saw a decrease in revenue over the prior year quarter resulting from the loss of a major contract in May 2011, which has just recently been offset by new work.  We are beginning to see the expected turnaround in this market, as revenue increased 10% and operating margin increased to 9.4% from 1.9% in theSeptember 2011 quarter.  We expect this improvement to continue in the March 2012 quarter.

We continue to see substantial growth opportunity in our Other International Business Unit as new aircraft commence work in a number of locations.  However, our quarterly results continue to be impacted negatively by the effect of foreign currency exchange rate changes on our earnings from Lider in Brazil.  Despite a loss on our earnings from Lider in the December quarter, our operating margin has improved across this business unit due to strong returns in other markets, including Malaysia.

YEAR-TO-DATE FY2012 RESULTS

  • Operating revenue increased 4.7% to $880.5 million compared to $841.2 million in the same period a year ago.
  • Operating income decreased 36.0% to $89.6 million compared to $139.9 million in the fiscal year 2011 period.  Adjusted operating income decreased 9.7% to $119.9 million compared to $132.8 million in the fiscal year 2011 period.
  • Net income decreased 51.4% to $49.3 million, or $1.34 per diluted share, compared to $101.4 million, or$2.77 per diluted share, for the fiscal year 2011 period.  Adjusted net income decreased 13.4% to $71.1 million, or $1.93 per diluted share, compared to $82.1 million, or $2.24 per diluted share, for the fiscal year 2011 period.
  • Adjusted EBITDA was $189.1 million compared to $195.2 million in the same period a year ago.

 

SHARE BUY-BACK

In November 2011, our board of directors authorized us to spend up to $100 million to repurchase shares of our common stock.  On December 15, 2011, we entered into an accelerated share repurchase agreement with an independent financial institution.  We paid $25 million to purchase shares of our common stock.  Our effective per share purchase prices will be based generally on the average of the daily volume weighted average prices per share of our common stock, less a discount, calculated during an averaging period which began on December 20, 2011 and will last up to three months.

LEASING STRATEGY

We initiated a new financing strategy in the December 2011 quarter whereby we will be using operating leases to a greater extent than in the past.  As part of this strategy, on December 29, 2011, we sold two aircraft for $47.9 millionand entered into two separate agreements to lease back these aircraft, each with base terms of 60 months.  Additionally, on December 30, 2011, we transferred our interest in two aircraft previously included in construction in progress within property and equipment on our condensed consolidated balance sheet in return for $23.4 million in progress payments previously paid on these aircraft.  We also signed two separate agreements to lease back these aircraft, commencing at time of delivery, which is currently anticipated to be in June and July 2012.    We expect to enter into more operating leases in future periods, with an initial aim for these leases to account for 20-30% of our Large Aircraft Equivalent (“LACE”) aircraft.

GUIDANCE

Bristow is revising the diluted earnings per share guidance provided in November 2011 for the full fiscal year 2012 of$3.05 to $3.30 down to $2.90 to $3.10 as a result of work shifting to fiscal year 2013 and the impact of foreign currency exchange rate changes in Brazil.

As a reminder, our GAAP earnings per share guidance does not include gains and losses on disposals of assets as well as special items because their timing and amounts are more variable and less predictable.  This guidance is based on current foreign currency exchange rates.  In providing this guidance, the Company has not included the impact of any changes in accounting standards and any impact from significant acquisitions or divestitures.  Changes in events or other circumstances that the Company does not currently anticipate or predict could result in earnings per share for fiscal year 2012 that are significantly above or below this guidance.  Factors that could cause such changes are described below under Forward-Looking Statements Disclosure.

“We continue to see success in implementing Bristow Value Added (“BVA”), with an almost doubling of operating cash flow in the first nine months of fiscal year 2012 from the prior year period,” said Jonathan E. Baliff, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Bristow Group.  “This cash flow generation combined with our strong balance sheet allows Bristow to have a safe financial profile, strategic flexibility, and creates a balanced return for shareholders through a growing dividend and opportunistic share repurchases.”

CONFERENCE CALL

Management will conduct a conference call starting at 10:00 a.m. ET (9:00 a.m. CT) on Friday, February 3, to review financial results for the fiscal year 2012 third quarter ended December 31, 2011.  This release and the most recent investor slide presentation are available in the investor relations area of our web page athttp://www.bristowgroup.com/investorrelations.  The conference call can be accessed as follows:

Via Webcast:

  • Visit Bristow Group’s investor relations Web page at http://www.bristowgroup.com/investorrelations
  • Live: Click on the link for “Bristow Group Fiscal 2012 Third 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 1-877-941-8609
  • Replay: A telephone replay will be available through February 17, 2012 and may be accessed by calling toll free 1-800-406-7325, passcode: 4503255#

 

Via Telephone outside the U.S.:

  • Live: Dial 480-629-9771
  • Replay: A telephone replay will be available through February 17, 2012 and may be accessed by calling 303-590-3030, passcode: 4503255#

 

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 and one of two helicopter service providers to the offshore energy industry with global operations.  The Company has major transportation operations in the North Sea, Nigeria and the U.S. Gulf ofMexico, and in most of the other major offshore oil and gas producing regions of the world, including Alaska,Australia, Brazil, Russia and Trinidad.  For more information, visit the Company’s website athttp://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 earnings guidance, capital allocation strategy, the impact of activity levels, business performance, and other market and industry conditions.  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  quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended December 31, 2011 and the annual report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011.  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.

Full financial statements can be found here

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