Bristow buys Columbia Helicopters, loses Baliff

Bristow Caribbean

Bristow Group has fully acquired privately-held operator Columbia Helicopters for $560 million. Group CEO Johnathan Baliff has announced his resignation.

Baliff will oversee the integration planning of Columbia Helicopters and will officially leave the company in the coming months. Thomas Amonett, Bristow’s vice-chairman of the board of directors, has been appointed the interim president of the Group during the CEO transition process.

Columbia helicopters operates a fleet of 21 Chinooks and Vertol 107s on heavy lift, firefighting and general charter missions. When merged into Bristow’s fleet, the Group will operate 304 aircraft. It will maintain the Columbia Helicopters name and air operating certificate.

As well as fire-fighting, heavy lift and general contracts, Columbia also supports the US Department of Defence in Afghanistan – providing cargo transport, mail and passenger transport flights for the U.S armed forces across the region.

Once the acquisition is completed oil and gas contracts will account for 58% of Bristow’s sales.

Bristow expects Columbia to generate $125 million to $130 million in earnings in the 12 months up to 30 March 2019. For the twelve months ended 30 September, 2018, Columbia recorded revenues of approximately $281 million and adjusted EBITDA of approximately $117 million.

“We share a long-standing, proven commitment to safety and Columbia’s specialized heavy-lift capabilities are highly complementary to Bristow’s offshore capabilities,” said Jonathan E. Baliff, CEO of Bristow. “We therefore see significant opportunity to leverage the combined company’s fleet, MRO capabilities and certificates to expand our addressable market opportunities globally. Just as importantly, we believe we will be able to utilize our UK SAR expertise to build our combined business in the growing US government and industrial end-markets, where Columbia has deep experience.”