Bristow Group: Zacks’Bear of the Day Play

Bristow Group Inc. (BRSSnapshot Report) is one of those companies feeling the pain of the decline in oil prices even though it’s not an energy company. With oil prices refusing the rebound, this Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell) is expecting business to be challenging this year.

Bristow Group provides helicopter services to the offshore energy industry globally. It has major transportation operations in the North Sea, Nigeria, the US Gulf of Mexico and the other major offshore producing regions including Australia, Brazil, Russia and Trindad.

Beat By 7 Cents in the Third Quarter

On Feb 8, Bristow Group reported its fiscal third quarter results and beat the Zacks Consensus by 7 cents. Earnings were $0.67 compared to the consensus of $0.60.

But operating revenue from oil and gas clients fell 21.2%, or $81.2 million, year over year.

Conserving Cash

Bristow believes the dark times aren’t yet over for its energy clients. This downturn is deeper and lasting longer than originally expected.

It expects clients to further cut capital spending in fiscal 2017.

Therefore, it has put together a strategy to maximize cash generation so it’s not caught without options.

It is reducing capital expenditures and cut its dividend to just $0.07 a quarter. It also has a $200 million term loan.

As of Dec 31, 2015, its total liquidity, including cash on hand and availability in its revolving credit facility, was $299.3 million, compared to $369.9 million as of March 31, 2015.

It was able to defer new aircraft deliveries and related capital expenditures in December 2015.


Bristow is also continuing to diversify its business model.

On Feb 9, it announced it was investing $4.2 million in Sky-Future, a provider of drone inspection data services for the oil and gas industry.

It opens a new market for the company which also may have non-oil and energy applications.

Estimates Sink

Analysts are bearish on Bristow for fiscal 2016 and 2017 even though Bristow reaffirmed its fiscal 2016 numbers.

2 estimates were cut in the last month for fiscal 2016, pushing down the Zacks Consensus Estimate to $1.75 from $1.89. This is an earnings decline of 53.5% compared to the prior year.

3 estimates were also slashed for fiscal 2017 in the prior 30 days. That estimate has fallen dramatically to $1.52 from $2.24, another earnings decline of 13.2%.

Shares Tank but are They a Deal?

It’s been a rough year for Bristow shares. They have sunk 40% year-to-date and are now near 2-year lows.

They trade with a forward P/E of just 8.7. While that seems cheap, with estimates still falling and the company conserving cash, there’s some risk involved.

If you really want to invest in a transport, you might want to consider one of the commercial airline companies. They are actually being helped, not hurt, by the decline in energy prices.

For example, investors should consider Delta Air Lines (DALAnalyst Report). It’s a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and is expected to grow earnings 47.8% this year.

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Tracey Ryniec is the Value Stock Strategist for She is also the Editor of the Insider Trader and Value Investor services. You can follow her on twitter at @TraceyRyniec and she also hosts the Zacks Market Edge Podcast on iTunes.


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