Bristow and Era Helicopters complete their merger


Bristow Group and Era Helicopters have completed the merger, announced on January 24th 2020, to form “a financially stronger company with enhanced size and diversification”.

Combining two of the largest operators in the offshore helicopter market, the new company will use name Bristow and will remain a publicly-traded company on the New York Stock Exchange. The newly combined company’s common stock started trading today (June 12th 2020) under the stock ticker ‘VTOL’.

Bristow President and CEO Chris Bradshaw said the merger left the company better positioned to face a challenging future. “The combination brings long-overdue consolidation in the industry, better prepares us to navigate today’s market challenges, and ensures we remain the global leader in helicopter services with an outstanding culture focused on safety and providing excellent service to our valued customers,” said Bradshaw.

‘Long-overdue consolidation’

The merger strengthened Bristow’s global leadership with significant operations throughout the Americas, Nigeria, Norway, the UK and Australia for offshore aviation transportation and search and rescue solutions. The combined company offers a broader range of world-class, efficient solutions through enhanced fleet size and diversity, investments in new technology and safety features to meet the evolving needs of new and existing oil and gas customers and governmental agencies, according to the company.

Bristow’s combined fleet totals more than 300 of the industry’s most modern aircraft and makes it the world’s largest operator of S92, AW189 and AW139 model helicopters. The fleet is more than 80% owned.

Cost synergies arising from the merger were predicted to deliver an annualised saving of at least $35m through the elimination of redundant corporate expenses and the realisation of enhanced operational efficiencies. The merged company was said to maintain a strong balance sheet, supported by a large combined cash balance of more than $250m. Government services contracts were expected to generate significant revenues and cash flow.

Combined cash balance of more than $250m

Under the terms of the merger, legacy Bristow shareholders own 77% of the equity of the combined company and legacy Era shareholders own 23% of the equity.

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, the combined company has an eight-member Board of Directors, including five members from legacy Bristow and two members from legacy Era, including the legacy Era CEO. The Board of Directors is comprised of G. Mark Mickelson, who will act as chairman of the Board of Directors, Christopher S. Bradshaw, Lorin L. Brass, Charles Fabrikant, Wesley E. Kern, Robert J. Manzo, Christopher Pucillo and Brian D. Truelove.

Bristow stockholders approved the adoption of the merger yesterday (June 11th, 2020).

Meanwhile, the announcement of the merger in January 2020 came almost a year after Bristow cancelled a $560m agreement to combine with US heavy-lift operator Columbia Helicopters. That agreement, forged in November 2018, was cancelled in February 2019.


Bristow timeline