Texas-headquartered Bristow Group is set to emerge from US Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after a US Southern District of Texas (Houston) court approved its restructuring plan during a hearing on October 4.

Bristow Group Inc. along with BHNA Holdings Inc., Bristow Alaska Inc., Bristow Helicopters Inc., Bristow U.S. Leasing LLC, Bristow US LLC, BriLog Leasing Ltd. (Cayman), and Bristow Equipment Leasing Ltd. (Cayman) filed for Chapter 11 in May this year citing debts of USD1.88 billion against assets of USD2.86 billion. At the time of the filing, the group's major shareholders included Mackenzie Financial Corporation (18.33%), Blackrock Fund Advisors (13.08%), Fidelity Management & Research Company Dimensional Fund Advisors LP (US), and The Vanguard Group, Inc.

In a statement issued on Monday, October 7, Bristow Group said that with its reorganisation plan's approval, it now expects to consummate its financial restructuring process and successfully emerge from Chapter 11 by October 31, 2019.

Once it does so, Bristow Group will be a privately held company whose largest owners are expected to be affiliates of Solus Alternative Asset Management LP, the South Dakota Investment Council, Empyrean Capital Partners LP, Bain Capital Credit, and Oak Hill Advisors, who are expected to own in excess of 50% of Bristow's shareholding collectively, with the remaining equity held by other secured creditors and unsecured noteholders.

Under the terms of the court-approved plan, on emergence from Chapter 11, Bristow Group will receive USD535 million worth of fresh capital from a majority of its secured and unsecured noteholders. Of the amount, USD385 million will come through an equity rights offering while Bristow's USD150 million debtor-in-possession loan, which was funded in August this year, will convert into new equity of the reorganized company upon emergence.

"Achieving Plan confirmation is an important milestone that comes less than five months after we initially filed Chapter 11. As a reorganized Company, we will emerge a stronger, well-capitalized global organization with an industry-leading balance sheet and strong liquidity," L. Don Miller, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bristow, said.

"I commend the entire global Bristow organization for working diligently to navigate the restructuring process while flying safely and continuing to provide exceptional client service. I also express my gratitude to our clients for their continuing confidence in Bristow during this process. We look forward to continuing to work with our new owners, who have been very supportive of our global team and greatly value our market-leading position."

As previously noted, the Chapter 11 filing did not affect Bristow Group's other non-US-based operators, namely Airnorth (Australia), Bristow Helicopters Nigeria, Cougar Helicopters (Canada), Líder Aviação (Brazil), and Turkmenistan Helicopters.