HOUSTON, November 1, 2019 – Bristow Group, the world’s leading industrial provider of helicopter transportation and search and rescue services, successfully emerged from Chapter 11 on October 31, 2019. Bristow Group Inc. and certain of its U.S. and Cayman Islands subsidiaries entered chapter 11 with $1.6 billion of debt, consisting of seven secured and unsecured debt issuances and credit facilities. Within two days prior to the chapter 11 filing, Bristow secured a $75 million term loan to provide additional cash in hand on the filing date and a commitment for another $75 million more as a debtor-in-possession loan. In addition, with the assistance of Baker Botts and Bristow’s other professionals and the approval of the Bankruptcy Court, in less than 6 months, Bristow shed over $900 million of debt, optimized its aircraft fleet, implemented employee incentive programs to achieve critical safety, financial and restructuring objectives, and restructured many of the Company’s aircraft lease and secured equipment facility obligations – all without any disruption in worldwide operations. Bristow also exited chapter 11 with $535 million of fresh capital, providing the company with liquidity to continue its industry-leading global operations. The targeted U.S. chapter 11 filing involved eight of Bristow’s more than 60 entities worldwide.
After securing the approval of Bristow’s chapter 11 plan by its creditors, Baker Botts led the chapter 11 plan confirmation hearing that was contested by a group of Bristow’s former equity holders. After a two-day trial, Chief United States Bankruptcy Judge David R. Jones confirmed the plan over the objection and “compliment[ed] everyone for the way that [the contested confirmation hearing] ha[d] been done,” noting that it was “the most fun [he’d] had since [he’s] been on the bench.” He said the lawyers “advocated for their clients in an effort to be what a lawyer is supposed to be.” Judge Jones also praised Bristow’s management, stating that he “really like[d] the approach that the company has with respect to generating its financial models and making strategic decisions.” Referring to the direct testimony of the company’s witnesses, he said “this particular case is a great case study of why, when you have competent people, you don’t do affidavits. You let people’s talent come through.”
A cross-disciplinary team at Baker Botts led by Manny Grillo, Jim Prince, Omar Alaniz, Tom O’Brien, Rachael Lichman, Justin Hoffman, John Geddes, A.J. Ericksen, and Gail Stewart, working closely with other professionals at Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, Houlihan Lokey, Alvarez & Marsal and DLA Piper (UK), represented Bristow and its affiliates.
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