CHC Helicopters File For Bankruptcy Protection

Published at 12:02PM - 05/05/16

CHC offshore helicopters has filed for bankruptcy protection, just days after the catastrophic helicopter crash that killed thirteen offshore workers.

‘On May 05, 2016, CHC Group took the next step in its efforts to address the Company’s financial structure and fleet to help position the Company for long-term success.’ read a statement released by the Canadian based company today.

Delisting

The move follows a CHC’s forced delisting from New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) back in February. The NYSE took the decision due to CHC’s failure to keep a market capitalisation of $15 million.

CHC Files For Bankruptcy

In the statements released today by CHC, no mention was made to the impact of the helicopter crash in Norway last week.

CHC Offshore Helicopter Crash Norway
CHC Offshore Helicopter Crash Site, Norway

“CHC continues to be a strong company operationally and we remain fully committed to delivering safe and reliable service to our customers. Importantly, normal business operations will continue.” said CHC CEO, Karl Fessenden.

The statement continued: “The reorganization is expected to strengthen CHC’s financial position by reducing long-term debt and enhancing financial flexibility while allowing the Company to manage and operate its fleet of aircraft.”

“We remain committed to maintaining our position as a world class helicopter service provider – one that continues to set the standard for safety, customer service and value across the industry. We thank our customers and suppliers for their ongoing support as well as our employees for their continued dedication.” added Fessenden.

Norway Helicopter Crash

The crash last week, by one of the company’s EC255 Super Pumas, claimed the lives of all thirteen personnel onboard– two CHC pilots and eleven offshore workers.

An investigation into the crash is currently underway by Norwegian authorities, with the UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch and French equivalent assisting.

Early indications point towards a technical failure, with both video and photo evidence showing the helicopter’s rotor blades detaching midair.

Rotor Blades Of The Crashed CHC Super Puma
Rotor Blades Of The Crashed CHC Super Puma

Offshore Slump

Like many companies in the oil and gas industry, CHC’s operations have been significantly affected by the dramatic decline in oil prices since their peak in 2014 and general uncertainty in the energy market, which has led to decreased customer demand and an increase in idle aircraft.

CHC Offshore Super Puma, Norway
CHC Offshore Super Puma, Norway

Despite significant efforts to reduce costs, these factors, coupled with CHC’s debt and aircraft lease obligations, resulted in the Company’s decision to engage advisors to assist in evaluating strategic alternatives to improve its capital structure.

Continued Offshore Operations

“CHC expects day-to-day operations to continue without interruption throughout the court-supervised reorganization process. The Company expects to maintain sufficient liquidity throughout the reorganization process to maintain its business operations.” concluded Fessenden.