He­li­copter com­pany’s deal to mean less oil ex­po­sure

Houston Chronicle - - BUSINESS - By An­drea Le­in­felder STAFF WRITER an­drea.le­in­felder@chron.com twit­ter.com/an­drea­rum­baugh

The Hous­ton avi­a­tion ser­vices com­pany Bris­tow Group is ac­quir­ing Columbia He­li­copters in a $560 mil­lion deal that will re­duce its ex­po­sure to the volatile oil and gas mar­ket.

Oil and gas ser­vices, such as fer­ry­ing work­ers to and from off­shore oil rigs, ac­count for most of Bris­tow’s busi­ness. Columbia, head­quar­tered in Aurora, Ore., pro­vides heavy-lift he­li­copter ser­vices that move con­struc­tion and other large equip­ment, as well as main­te­nance, re­pair and over­haul ser­vices.

“The ac­qui­si­tion will di­ver­sify our rev­enue by ge­og­ra­phy and end-mar­ket, deepen our po­si­tion with the U.S. gov­ern­ment and en­able us to pur­sue global gov­ern­ment con­tract op­por­tu­ni­ties that would not be avail­able to ei­ther stand­alone com­pany,” Jonathan Baliff, CEO of Bris­tow Group, said in the news re­lease.

The com­bined com­pany will have a more di­ver­si­fied fleet, with 304 op­er­at­ing air­craft, a more var­ied cus­tomer base and an ex­panded mar­ket, par­tic­u­larly in the U.S. gov­ern­ment sec­tor. Columbia will re­main head­quar­tered in Aurora, Ore. Bris­tow will re­main in Hous­ton.

Bris­tow on Fri­day said it lost $144.2 mil­lion, or $4.03 per share in the three-month pe­riod end­ing in Septem­ber, com­pared to a net loss of $31.2 mil­lion dur­ing the same pe­riod last year. The loss was mainly due to Bris­tow pay­ing more for its H225 he­li­copters and Eastern Air­ways as­sets than what it can cur­rently make in the mar­ket.

Bris­tow also an­nounced that Baliff will re­tire in the coming months. Baliff, who joined Bris­tow as its chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer in 2010, was named CEO in 2014.

Thomas Amon­ett, vice chair­man of the board, will serve as in­terim pres­i­dent un­til a CEO search is con­ducted.

Bris­tow Group

Hous­ton­based Bris­tow Group’s deal to buy Columbia He­li­copters will bring it a more var­ied cus­tomer base.

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