Commercial

Offshore Market Leads Bristow to Seek Finance Options

By S.L. Fuller | February 6, 2017

Bristow Group Inc. and General Electric (GE) Capital Aviation Services’ Milestone Aviation Group Ltd. recently secured a commitment letter for a loan, Milestone said. Bristow reported its December 2016 quarter results recently, showing it has also sought financing assistance through equipment financings and credit agreements.

Due to the down oil and gas market, Bristow said it found ways to improve its liquidity runway by $630 million via funding of $200 million Lombard 7-year equipment financings, a finalized credit agreement with Macquarie for $200 million secured equipment financing and the Milestone commitment letter for $230 million in secured equipment financing. The secured term loan facility would be given to a subsidiary of Bristow, secured by a pool of helicopter assets. The agreement covers the extension of select Sikorsky S-92 leases with Milestone, and Milestone would also defer lease rentals on select Airbus H225 assets on lease to Bristow.

"Milestone has been our primary lessor since 2012, and this agreement is another example of the continued strength of their commitment to Bristow Group," said Bristow President and CEO Jonathan Baliff. "Throughout our relationship, they have worked creatively and flexibly to structure lease solutions best suited for our business, and with the backing of GE they now have the capability to support our business objectives by providing us with significant financial flexibility, as an important alternative to traditional banking capital."

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Bristow said it expects offshore exploration and production spending to be down again in fiscal year 2018. But despite continuing challenges the market presents, it is confident the market will turn around. “Green shoots are beginning to appear,” Bristow said.

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