Bristow Group emerges from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection


Less than six months after filing for bankruptcy in May 2019, Bristow Group has successfully emerged from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection – having restructured its balance sheet to enable the company to continue operating.

As part of its restructuring plan, Bristow has reduced its debt and sourced more than $535m of new capital both from secured and from unsecured noteholders – $385m of which is through a debt-to-equity swap and $150m from a debtor-in-possession loan. It has also reinstated its $75m term loan.

To emerge from Chapter 11, Bristow handed over most of its equity to its largest secured creditors: Solus Alternative Asset Management, South Dakota Investment Council, Empyrean Capital Partners, Bain Capital Credit and Oak Hill Advisors.

Don Miller, president and CEO of Bristow, said: “We are beginning this new chapter of Bristow’s proud history having achieved our key restructuring goals: a stronger balance sheet and improved liquidity that will enable us to continue providing industry-leading service to our global client base.

‘Our key restructuring goals’

“I would like to commend our global team for its unwavering focus on delivering safe and efficient service to our clients and passengers as we navigated the restructuring process.”

Bristow has also appointed a new board of directors – chaired by Aris Kekedijan and including: Wesley E. Kern, Robert J. Manzo, Lorin L. Brass, G. Mark Mickelson, Brian D. Truelove, Hooman Yazhari. Those returning to the board include former CEO Don Miller and former director Ian Godden who will serve as chairman of Bristow’s UK subsidiary.

Miller added: “We are committed to further building on our global leadership role in offshore oil and gas transportation and search and rescue. As we have throughout this process, we remain focused on being ‘best in class’ for all our stakeholders, particularly our employees, customers and new owners as we continue to look for ways to drive innovation and efficiencies across the global business.”

Bristow Timeline:

Bristow has emerged from Chapter 11 less than sixth months after initially filing from bankruptcy protection – mimicking fellow oil and gas operator PHI’s exit from bankruptcy procedures. The general balance sheet restructuring has been a common trend for helicopter operators entering Chapter 11 protection, as has been seen in the cases of Bristow, CHC and PHI. For all three cases, Houlihan Lowkey acted as the financial advisor.

Key dates

11 May – Bristow files for Chapter 11 protection

14 May – First day motions

26 June – Final hearing of first day motions

22 July – Meeting of creditors

6 August – Deadline for proofs of claim

21 August – Disclosure statement hearing

23 September – Voting and objection deadline

3 October – Confirmation hearing

4 October – Reorganisation plan approved