Bristow/Columbia acquisition delayed


Following the announcement that Bristow would be acquiring Columbia Helicopters – Bristow has since delayed the acquisition.

The Group initially planned to complete the purchase of the Oregon-based operator by the end of 2018 but announced in December that: “based on current market conditions, the Company no longer expects to complete the acquisition on or before 31 December.”

The acquisition would help diversify the operator’s predominantly oil and gas fleet with 21 heavy lift and firefighting aircraft — which has proven to be a more stable market than oil and gas in recent years.

Bristow first announced that it plans to purchase 100% of Columbia’s stock on 10 November 2018.

The purchase agreement also stated that either party can terminate the acquisition at any time if the deal is not closed by 9 April 2019. In this event, Bristow would need to pay Columbia a $20 million termination fee.

Bristow also plans to buy back a minimum of $135 million secured notes – with an option for purchasers to purchase an additional $15 million convertible notes by 14 December. The purchase of the notes is contingent on the execution and delivery of filing final documentation and closing the acquisition of Columbia Helicopters.

Drawing to the end of December 2018, concerns were raised regarding Bristow’s share price and increasing debt. Since January 2015, its share price has fallen from $65.48 to a low of $2.65 at the start of 2019.

According to Bristow’s 2018 annual report, the group’s total debt was $1.49 billion and group revenue rose 2.7% year over year to $1.38 billion. The company’s fleet stands in the balance sheet at over $2 billion.