Bristow Group reports 2014 Q1 results to 30th June 2013

Bristow Group reports 2014 Q1 results to 30th June 2013

5-Aug-2013 Source: Bristow Group

Bristow Group Inc. (NYSE: BRS) today reported net income for the June 2013 quarter of $26.9 million, or $0.74 per diluted share, compared to net income of $23.7 million, or $0.65 per diluted share, in the same period a year ago. Adjusted net income, which excludes special items and asset disposition effects, increased 23% to $36.5 million, or $1.00 per diluted share, for theJune 2013 quarter, compared to $29.6 million or $0.81 per diluted share, in the June 2012 quarter.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization and rent (“adjusted EBITDAR”), which excludes special items and asset disposition effects, was $102.5 million for the June 2013 quarter compared to $84.3 million in the same period a year ago, an increase of 22%.  Net cash provided by operating activities totaled $36.4 millionfor the June 2013 quarter compared to $55.4 million in the June 2012 quarter.

The improvement in adjusted EBITDAR, adjusted net income and adjusted diluted earnings per share compared to the June 2012 quarter was primarily driven by:

  • Improved pricing and increased activity with new and existing clients in our Europe and West Africa Business Units;
  • Aircraft operating in Canada for our Canadian affiliate, Cougar Helicopters Inc.(“Cougar”), beginning in October 2012; and
  • An improvement in earnings for our Other International Business Unit, driven by increased earnings from unconsolidated affiliates, primarily from Lider in Brazil.

“This was a record first quarter for Bristow, with excellent top-line growth leading to revenue and adjusted earnings per share at levels never before seen in this period.  The results coming out of our core businesses in Europe and West Africa are now being matched by excellent performance from our investments in Brazil and Atlantic Canada,”said William E. Chiles, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bristow Group.

“This financial performance is even more notable given the operational challenges and maintenance expenses associated with the Eurocopter EC225s suspension of operations which impacted our adjusted EBITDAR margins in the quarter.  We look forward to the commercial, operational, and financial benefits of the EC225 return to service and the contribution from the Gap SAR and INPEX contracts during the rest of our fiscal year and new contract wins in East Africa for the future.”

FIRST QUARTER FY2014 RESULTS

  • Operating revenue increased 12% to $359.5 million compared to $320.7 million in the same period a year ago.
  • Operating income increased 40% to $56.1 million compared to $40.0 million in theJune 2012 quarter.
  • Net income increased by 14% to $26.9 million, or $0.74 per diluted share, compared to$23.7 million, or $0.65 per diluted share, in the June 2012 quarter.  Adjusted net income, which excludes special items and asset disposition effects, increased 23% to$36.5 million, or $1.00 per diluted share, compared to $29.6 million, or $0.81 per diluted share, in the June 2012 quarter.
  • Adjusted EBITDAR, which excludes special items and asset disposition effects, increased 22% to $102.5 million compared to $84.3 million in the same period a year ago.
  • Cash as of June 30, 2013 totaled $160.0 million compared to $215.6 million as ofMarch 31, 2013.  Our total liquidity, including cash on hand and availability on our revolving credit facility, was $407.4 million as of June 30, 2013 compared to $415.0 million as of March 31, 2013.

The 12% increase in operating revenue primarily resulted from:

  • The addition of new contracts with improved pricing and improvements in flight activity in our Europe and West Africa Business Units, and
  • The addition of eight aircraft operating in Canada that contributed $16.1 million ($8.2 million in North America and $7.9 million in Corporate and other).

Our GAAP results for the June 2013 quarter were impacted by the following items that are excluded from our adjusted non-GAAP financial measures for the quarter:

  • A loss on disposal of assets of $1.7 million, which compares to a loss of $5.3 million in the June 2012 quarter, and
  • A charge to interest expense of $12.7 million, resulting from the write-off of unamortized deferred financing fees related to a potential financing in connection with our bid to provide search and rescue (“SAR”) services in the U.K.  During the June 2013 quarter, we increased our borrowing capacity on our revolving credit facility from$200 million to $350 million and cancelled this potential financing.  This special item decreased net income by $8.3 million and earnings per share by $0.23 during theJune 2013 quarter.

The June 2012 quarter was also impacted by a special item in the form of $2.2 million of severance costs related to the termination of a contract in the Southern North Sea, which decreased operating income by $2.2 million, net income by $1.7 million and earnings per share by $0.05 during that period.

After adjusting for the loss on disposal of assets and for special items in the June 2013and 2012 quarters, we saw an improvement in the financial measures used by management to assess and measure our financial performance, including a 21.8% improvement in adjusted operating income, an improvement in adjusted operating margin from 14.8% to 16.1%, a 21.6% improvement in adjusted EBITDAR, an improvement in adjusted EBITDAR margin from 26.3% to 28.5%, a 23.2% improvement in adjusted net income and a 23.5% improvement in adjusted diluted earnings per share.

This improvement was driven by strong revenue performance and the increase in earnings from unconsolidated affiliates in the June 2013 quarter, partially offset by the increases in salaries and benefits, maintenance expense, general and administrative expense, and rent expense.

Despite the significant increase in operating revenue across most of our business units, adjusted EBITDAR margin decreased compared to the June 2012 quarter for certain business units due to additional maintenance and labor costs incurred in the June 2013quarter to support Eurocopter AS332L aircraft returned to service after we ceased operating Eurocopter EC225 aircraft in October 2012. Additionally, as we spoke about in last quarter, we are incurring costs in Europe and Australia in anticipation of new contract start-ups later in fiscal year 2014, including the Gap SAR and INPEX contracts.

A significant portion of the costs related to the AS332L aircraft and contract additions are non-recurring; therefore, we expect adjusted EBITDAR margin to improve in these affected markets over the remainder of our fiscal year 2014.

FIRST QUARTER FY2014 BUSINESS UNIT RESULTS

Europe Business Unit

The assets of our Europe Business Unit have continued to expand over the last twelve months with the addition of large aircraft. These new aircraft, as well as an overall increase in activity with existing clients and under new contracts primarily in the Northern North Sea in the U.K. resulted in $21.4 million of increased revenue and were the primary contributor to the revenue growth.  We increased our fleet in this market by executing operating leases for new large aircraft beginning in late fiscal year 2012 and fiscal year 2013.  While adjusted EBITDAR increased almost 5% year-over-year as a result of the operation of the additional aircraft, maintenance and salary increases (discussed above) resulted in a decrease in adjusted EBITDAR margin to 30.3% in the June 2013 quarter compared to 32.2% in the June 2012 quarter.

West Africa Business Unit

Activity levels continued to be strong in our West Africa Business Unit, leading to a 14.2% increase in operating revenue for the June 2013 quarter compared to the June 2012 quarter.  These strong activity levels also resulted in a 12.1% improvement in adjusted EBITDAR compared with June 2012 quarter.  However, due to the timing of maintenance activities, adjusted EBITDAR margins remained mostly flat in this business unit, at 31.3% for the June 2013 quarter compared to 31.9% for the June 2012 quarter.

North America Business Unit

Our entry into the Atlantic Canada market through our investment in Cougar drove the improvement in revenue, adjusted EBITDAR and adjusted EBITDAR margin in North America.  Offsetting this improvement was a decline in activity in our U.S. Gulf of Mexicobusiness, primarily related to small aircraft.  Aircraft operating for Cougar in Canadacontributed $8.2 million in revenue in the June 2013 quarter.  Driven by this performance, North America’s adjusted EBITDAR and adjusted EBITDAR margin improved to $17.0 million and 29.2%, respectively, in the June 2013 quarter compared to$12.2 million and 23.2%, respectively, in the June 2012 quarter.

Australia Business Unit

Operating revenue for Australia remained flat due to an increase in operating revenue from new contracts and ad hoc work, offset by a decrease in activity due to the end of short-term contracts and impact of foreign currency exchange rate changes.  However, as a result of costs we incurred in the June 2013 quarter in anticipation of contracts that start in the fourth quarter of the current fiscal year, adjusted EBITDAR and adjusted EBITDAR margin decreased to $6.8 million and 17.7%, respectively, in the June 2013quarter from $10.3 million and 27.0%, respectively, in the June 2012 quarter.

Other International Business Unit

Our Other International Business Unit saw an increase in adjusted EBITDAR margin to 67.4% in the June 2013 quarter compared to 36.2% in the same quarter a year ago, primarily resulting from an increase of $11.0 million in earnings from unconsolidated affiliates.  This increase was driven by our investment in Lider, which improved by $8.6 million in the June 2013 quarter due to the addition of new aircraft on contract, cost controls and the impact of foreign currency items compared to the June 2012 quarter. This business unit’s growth outlook also includes following global clients into emerging areas, including new contract wins in East Africa for the future.

UPDATE ON EC225 OPERATIONS

Eurocopter, the manufacturer of the EC225 Super Puma aircraft, has indicated that they have determined the root causes of the gear shaft failure in the EC225 that occurred in 2012. This determination has been reviewed and verified by airworthiness authorities and independent third parties. The definitive solution to the problem will be a redesign of the gear shaft with earliest possible availability being in the middle of calendar year 2014.  However, in July 2013 the European Aviation Safety Authority (the “EASA”) issued an airworthiness directive providing for interim solutions involving minor aircraft modifications and new maintenance/operating procedures for mitigating shaft failure and enhancing early detection.

The Civil Aviation Authorities in the U.K. and Norway have issued safety directives, which superseded and revoked the safety directive of October 2012 and now permits a return to service of the EC225 aircraft over harsh environments conditional upon compliance with the EASA airworthiness directive.  We have commenced the required modifications and are carrying out the required inspections on our EC225 fleet in the U.K., Norway andAustralia.

Currently, no client contracts have been cancelled in connection with the suspension in operations of the EC225 aircraft and we believe we have the contractual right to continue to receive monthly standing charges billed to our clients.  In certain instances we have agreed to reduced monthly standing charge billings for the affected aircraft.  We have been able to substantially replace the lost utilization from the EC225 aircraft with other aircraft, mitigating the impact on our results of operations during the June 2013 quarter.

The current situation will continue until the necessary modifications are made to the EC225 fleet and we are confident that the interim modifications will allow us to operate the aircraft safely, which could result in our return to revenue service for the EC225 aircraft in the third quarter of our fiscal year 2014.  Until then, this situation could have a material adverse effect on our future business, financial condition and results of operations.

DIVIDEND

On August 1, 2013, our Board of Directors approved our tenth consecutive quarterly dividend.  This dividend of $0.25 per share will be paid on September 13, 2013 to shareholders of record on August 30, 2013 and is 67% higher than the first dividend paid in June 2011.  Based on shares outstanding as of June 30, 2013, the total quarterly dividend payment will be approximately $9.1 million. Additionally, our board of directors approved a dividend policy with a goal of an annualized quarterly dividend payout ratio of 20-30% of forward adjusted earnings per share, although actual dividend payments are at the discretion of the board and may not meet this ratio.

GUIDANCE

Bristow is reaffirming our adjusted diluted earnings per share guidance for the full fiscal year 2014 of $4.20 to $4.50, reflecting our expectation for continued growth, and improving operational and capital efficiency.

“Our continued improvement in operating and commercial performance has delivered this first quarter’s strong net income and cash generation, as seen in the over 20% growth in adjusted EBITDAR over the same period a year ago,” said Jonathan E. Baliff, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Bristow Group. “Combined with the proceeds from the recent sale of our interest in the FB entities in Europe, Bristow has liquidity to fund our Oil & Gas business and civilian SAR growth while providing a balanced return through growing quarterly dividends and potential share repurchases.”

As a reminder, our earnings per share guidance does not include gains and losses on asset dispositions 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, we have 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 we do not currently anticipate or predict could result in earnings per share for fiscal year 2014 that are significantly above or below this guidance, including the impact of the suspension of EC225 aircraft and changes in the market and industry.  Factors that could cause such changes are described below under the Forward-Looking Statements Disclosure.

CONFERENCE CALL

Management will conduct a conference call starting at 10:00 a.m. ET (9:00 a.m. CT) onTuesday, August 6, 2013 to review financial results for the fiscal year 2014 first quarter ended June 30, 2013.  This release and the most recent investor slide presentation are available in the investor relations area of our web page at www.bristowgroup.com.  The conference call can be accessed as follows:

Via Webcast:

  • Visit Bristow Group’s investor relations Web page at www.bristowgroup.com
  • Live: Click on the link for “Bristow Group Fiscal 2014 First 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 1-877-941-9205
  • Replay: A telephone replay will be available through August 20, 2013 and may be accessed by calling toll free 1-800-406-7325, passcode: 4627637#

Via Telephone outside the U.S.:

  • Live: Dial 1-480-629-9771
  • Replay: A telephone replay will be available through August 20, 2013 and may be accessed by calling 1-303-590-3030, passcode: 4627637#

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, Canada, Russia and Trinidad.  For more information, visit the Company’s website at www.bristowgroup.com.

Full financial statements here

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