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Monday, September 1, 2008

Rotorcraft Report: Offshore Single-Engine Market Shifts

NEWS

The offshore market for single-engine support helicopters is shifting.

Houston-based Bristow Group last month struck a deal to sell 53 single-engine aircraft-and many of the contracts they support-from its U.S. Gulf of Mexico fleet to Rotorcraft Leasing Co. The transaction, which includes inventory, spare parts and offshore fuel equipment related to operation of those aircraft, is valued at $65 million.

Era Helicopters also is divesting most single-engine aircraft from its fleet.

Bristow expects a pre-tax gain of roughly $40 million from the sale. This sale "is a continuation of Bristow’s growth strategy to redeploy capital into newer, high-technology aircraft capable of operating further offshore and in harsh environments," Bristow said. "Certain customer contracts, which these aircraft support, will be assigned to the buyer." Bristow said the assets and contracts "represent our entire business serving production management customers in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico." The sale is expected to close by Sept. 30, contingent on Rotorcraft Leasing obtaining financing, customer consent of affected commercial contracts, regulatory clearance and other customary conditions.

Rotorcraft Leasing said the addition of the production management flight services business of Bristow would further enhance its position as a leading provider of offshore helicopter support services to oil and gas producers in the Gulf of Mexico.

This business provides mission-critical transportation services to production management companies that support an attractive and loyal base of mid-major energy customers from strategically located onshore bases, an efficient fleet of short- and medium-range helicopters, and an extensive system of offshore fueling stations located throughout the Gulf of Mexico.

The Gulf of Mexico is the largest oil and gas production market in the world with nearly 4,000 active production platforms. More than 95 percent of the production platforms are located in Rotorcraft’s target market segment of the shallow waters (or the continental shelf, defined as waters less than 1,000 ft deep).

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