A leader in helicopter aviation services

Bristow Group is one of the leading global providers of vertical flight solutions [1], primarily offering aviation services to a broad base of energy companies. In addition, Bristow provides commercial and public sector search and rescue (SAR) services in many countries, including the UK. 

In 2013, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) awarded Bristow the UK Search & Rescue helicopter contract (UKSARH), which had previously been operated by a combination of the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force and HM Coastguard. In 2022, Bristow’s UK SAR team, which operates from 10 bases across the country, flew a total of 2,571 missions that spanned 11,016 operating hours, proudly rescuing 554 people. Overall, Bristow has supported over 31,000 SAR missions, during which more than 19,000 people have been rescued or assisted by its crews worldwide [2].

In June 2022, the MCA announced Bristow as the successful bidder for the 10-year, £1.6 billion second-generation (UKSAR2G) contract, beginning on 1 October 2024. UKSAR2G will embrace helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft and unmanned air systems in a fully integrated national service primarily supporting His Majesty’s Coastguard but available to support other government departments such as the Police and NHS.

£55 million increase to existing debt facilities helps fund four new SAR helicopters

After agreeing a 13.25-year term loan facility of £137.7 million last year, Bristow recently approached us again to discuss an  increase to their facilities up to £55 million to fund four new AW139 SAR-configured helicopters for the UKSAR2G contract with the MCA.

Acting as structuring bank, facility agent, security trustee, and account bank, the NatWest deal team arranged a syndicated facility and introduced two suitable new lending partners. The new lenders not only participated in the £55 million increase but also took a hold in Bristow’s existing debt facilities.

Providing advice and execution excellence to deliver optimal funding outcomes

Chris Bradshaw, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bristow, commented: “This new credit facility further strengthens our financial position and will support a successful transition of operations to the new UKSAR2G contract. We would like to thank NatWest for their support of Bristow and for helping facilitate our continued growth and success.” 

Jacob Lloyd, Head of Specialist Asset Finance, NatWest, said: “We’re delighted to have been able to support Bristow purchasing new helicopters which are vital for their search and rescue services. This transaction is another example of how we provide advice and execution excellence to deliver optimal funding outcomes for our customers.”


[1] Source: Fortune Business Insights

[2] Source: Bristow Group

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