Bristow Group flying after Chapter 11

HELICOPTER service provider Bristow Group will emerge from chapter 11 bankruptcy this month, and upon emergence will be a privately held recapitalised company with US$535 million (A$792 million) cash in the bank.
Bristow Group flying after Chapter 11 Bristow Group flying after Chapter 11 Bristow Group flying after Chapter 11 Bristow Group flying after Chapter 11 Bristow Group flying after Chapter 11

Paul Hunt

Senior Journalist: Oil & Gas, Policy.

Paul Hunt


The Houston based company provides helicopter transport services to oil and gas operators in Australia, the US Gulf of Mexico, Guyana, and the North Sea.

In May the troubled business announced it had filed for ‘Voluntary Chapter 11' in the US, commencing bankruptcy proceedings for its US entities and Cayman Islands subsidiaries.

In its filing, Bristow sought to claim debts of US$1.88 billion against assets of $2.86 billion, meaning the company was nearly $2 billion in debt. 

At the time Bristow said it was reorganising debtor business affairs, debts, and assets to achieve a "more sustainable debt profile".

Overnight, Bristow announced it had received confirmation from the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas that its Plan of Reorganisation was accepted. This allows the company to finalise and consummate its financial restructuring process.

"Achieving Plan confirmation is an important milestone that comes less than five months after we initially filed Chapter 11," Bristow CEO Don Miller said.

Under the plan, the company will be privately held with its largest owners to include Solus Alternative Asset Management, South Dakota Investment Council, Empyrean Capital, Bain Capital Credit and Oak Hill Advisors. Together the consortium will own more than 50% of the equity.

The remaining stake will be held by an assortment of other smaller secured creditors and noteholders.

"As a reorganized company, we will emerge a stronger, well capitalised global organisation with an industry-leading balance sheet and strong liquidity," Miller said.

Bristow Australia is the largest chopper service provider to offshore rigs in Australia. It also owns Airnorth and conducts 220 scheduled departures and chartered airplane flights for the oil and gas sector and resources industry.

Baker Botts and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz are serving as the company's legal counsel and Alvarez & Marsal act as the company's restructuring advisor.