Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)


12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2014
Organization, Consolidation and Presentation of Financial Statements [Abstract]  
Basis of Consolidation
Basis of Consolidation. The consolidated financial statements include the accounts of Era Group Inc., its wholly-owned subsidiaries and entities that meet the criteria of Variable Interest Entities (“VIEs”) of which the Company is the primary beneficiary. All significant inter-company accounts and transactions are eliminated in consolidation.
The Company employs the equity method of accounting for investments in business ventures when it has the ability to exercise significant influence over the operating and financial policies of the ventures. The Company reports such investments in the accompanying consolidated balance sheets as equity investments and advances. The Company reports its share of earnings or losses of equity investees in the accompanying consolidated statements of operations as equity earnings (losses), net of tax.
Use of Estimates
Use of Estimates. The preparation of financial statements in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period. Such estimates include, among other items, those related to allowance for doubtful accounts, useful lives of property and equipment, impairments, inventories, income tax provisions and certain accrued liabilities. Actual results could differ from those estimates and those differences may be material.
Revenue Recognition
Revenue Recognition. The Company recognizes revenue when it is realized or realizable and earned. Revenue is realized or realizable and earned when persuasive evidence of an arrangement exists, delivery has occurred or services have been rendered, the price to the buyer is fixed or determinable and collectability is reasonably assured. Revenue that does not meet these criteria is deferred until the criteria are met. Deferred revenues, the balance of which is offset in receivables, and related activity during the years ended December 31, 2014, 2013 and 2012 were as follows (in thousands):
Balance at beginning of period



Revenues deferred during period



Revenues recognized during period
Balance at end of period



As of December 31, 2014 and 2013, deferred revenues included $31.0 million and $21.0 million, respectively, related to dry-lease revenues for certain helicopters leased by the Company to Aeróleo Taxi Aero S/A (“Aeróleo”), its Brazilian joint venture (see Note 5). The deferral originated from difficulties experienced by Aeróleo following one of its customer’s cancellation of certain contracts for a number of AW139 medium helicopters under dry-lease from the Company, and the deferral continues as a result of financial difficulties at Aeróleo. The Company will recognize revenues as cash is received or earlier should future collectability become reasonably assured. All costs and expenses related to these dry-leases were recognized as incurred.
As of December 31, 2014 and 2013, deferred revenues also included $0 and $3.2 million, respectively, related to dry-lease revenues for certain helicopters leased by the Company to one of its customers in India. The deferral resulted from the customer having its operating certificate revoked for a period of time and therefore being unable to operate. The certificate has since been reinstated, and the customer has settled its previously past due accounts receivable in 2014. As a result, $1.7 million of previously deferred revenue related to this customer was recognized during 2014, and future revenues will be recognized in accordance with the Company’s general revenue recognition policy.
The Company charters the majority of its helicopters through master service agreements, subscription agreements, day-to-day charter arrangements and dry-leases. Master service agreements and subscription agreements typically require a fixed monthly fee plus incremental payments based on hours flown. These agreements have fixed terms ranging from one month to five years and generally may be canceled by providing 30 days’ notice. Day-to-day charter arrangements call for either a combination of a daily fixed fee plus a charge based on hours flown or an hourly rate with a minimum number of hours to be charged daily. Dry-leases require a fixed monthly fee for the customer’s right to use the helicopter and, where applicable, a charge based on hours flown as compensation for any maintenance, parts, and/or personnel support that the Company may provide to the customer. Dry-leases generally run from two to five years with no early cancellation provisions. Air medical services are provided under contracts with hospitals that typically include a fixed monthly and hourly rate structure. With respect to flightseeing operations, the Company allocates block space to cruise lines and seats are sold directly to customers. The Company also operates an FBO at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport that sells fuel on an ad-hoc basis and leases storage space.    
Cash Equivalents
Cash Equivalents. The Company considers all highly liquid investments with an original maturity of three months or less when purchased to be cash equivalents. Cash equivalents consist of overnight investments.
Trade Receivables
Trade Receivables. Customers are primarily major integrated and independent exploration and production companies, hospitals, international helicopter operators and the U.S. government. Customers are typically granted credit on a short-term basis and related credit risks are considered minimal. The Company routinely reviews its trade receivables and makes provisions for probable doubtful accounts; however, those provisions are estimates and actual results could differ from those estimates and those differences may be material. Trade receivables are deemed uncollectible and removed from accounts receivable and the allowance for doubtful accounts when collection efforts have been exhausted.
Derivative Instruments
Derivative Instruments. The Company accounts for derivative positions at fair value in the accompanying consolidated balance sheets. Unrealized gains and losses on derivatives not designated as hedges are reported in the accompanying consolidated statements of operations as derivative losses, net.
Concentrations of Credit Risk
Concentrations of Credit Risk. The Company is exposed to concentrations of credit risk relating to its receivables due from customers in the industries described above. The Company does not generally require collateral or other security to support its outstanding receivables. The Company minimizes its credit risk relating to receivables by performing ongoing credit evaluations and, to date, credit losses have not been material. The Company is also exposed to concentrations of credit risk associated with cash, cash equivalents and derivative instruments. The Company minimizes its credit risk relating to these positions by monitoring the financial condition of the financial institutions and counterparties involved and by primarily conducting business with large, well-established financial institutions and diversifying its counterparties. The Company does not currently anticipate nonperformance by any of its significant counterparties.
Inventories. Inventories are stated at the lower of average cost or market value and consist primarily of spare parts and fuel.
Property and Equipment
Property and Equipment. Property and equipment, stated at cost, is depreciated using the straight-line method over the estimated useful life of the asset to an estimated salvage value. With respect to helicopters, the estimated useful life is typically based upon a newly built asset being placed into service and represents the point at which it is typically not justifiable for the Company to continue to operate the asset in the same or similar manner. From time to time, the Company may acquire older assets that have already exceeded the Company’s useful life policy, in which case the Company depreciates such assets based on its best estimate of remaining useful life. The Company reviews the estimated useful lives and salvage values of its property and equipment on an ongoing basis.
As of December 31, 2014 the estimated useful life (in years) of the Company’s categories of new property and equipment was as follows:
Helicopters (estimated salvage value at 40% of cost)

Machinery, equipment and spares

Buildings and leasehold improvements

Furniture, fixtures, vehicles and other

Equipment maintenance and repair costs and the costs of routine overhauls and inspections performed on helicopter engines and major components are charged to operating expense as incurred. Expenditures that extend the useful life or improve the marketing and commercial characteristics of equipment as well as major renewals or improvements to other properties are capitalized.
The Company engages a number of third-party vendors to maintain the engines and certain components on some of its helicopter models under programs known as “power-by-hour” maintenance contracts. These programs require the Company to pay for the maintenance service ratably over the contract period, typically based on actual flight hours. Power-by-hour providers generally bill monthly based on hours flown in the prior month, the costs being expensed as incurred. In the event the Company places a helicopter in a program after a maintenance period has begun, it may be necessary to pay an initial buy-in charge based on hours flown since the previous maintenance event. The buy-in charge is normally recorded as a prepaid expense and amortized as an operating expense over the remaining power-by-hour contract period. If a helicopter is sold or otherwise removed from a program before the scheduled maintenance work is carried out, the Company may be able to recover part of its payments to the power-by-hour provider, in which case, the Company records a reduction to operating expense when it receives the refund.
The Company also incurs repairs and maintenance expense through vendor arrangements whereby the Company obtains repair quotes and authorizes service through a repair order process.  Under these arrangements, the Company records the repairs and maintenance cost as the work is completed.  As a result, the timing of repairs and maintenance may result in operating expenses varying substantially when compared with a prior year or prior quarter if a disproportionate number of repairs, refurbishments or overhauls for components not covered under power-by-hour arrangements are performed during a period. 
Certain interest costs incurred during the construction of equipment are capitalized as part of the assets’ carrying values and are amortized over such assets’ estimated useful lives.
Impairment of Long-Lived Assets
Impairment of Long-Lived Assets. The Company performs an impairment analysis on long-lived assets used in operations when indicators of impairment are present. The Company’s helicopters in operation are evaluated for impairment on an aggregate fleet basis. If the carrying value of the assets is not recoverable, as determined by the estimated undiscounted cash flows, the carrying value of the assets is reduced to fair value. Generally, fair value is determined using valuation techniques, such as expected discounted cash flows or appraisals, as appropriate.
Impairment of Equity Investees. The Company performs regular reviews of each investee’s financial condition, the business outlook for its products and services, and its present and projected results and cash flows. When an investee has experienced consistent declines in financial performance or difficulties in raising capital to continue operations, and when the Company expects the decline to be other-than-temporary, the investment is written down to fair value. Actual results may vary from estimates due to the uncertainty regarding the projected financial performance of investees, the severity and expected duration of declines in value and the available liquidity in the capital markets to support the continuing operations of the investees in which the Company has investments.
Goodwill. Goodwill is recorded when the purchase price paid for an acquisition exceeds the fair value of net identified tangible and intangible assets acquired. The Company performs an annual impairment test of goodwill and further periodic tests to the extent indicators of impairment develop between annual impairment tests. The Company’s impairment review process compares the fair value of the reporting unit to its carrying value, including goodwill. To determine its fair value, the Company uses a discounted future cash flow approach that uses estimates for revenues, costs, and discount rates, among other estimates. These estimates are reviewed each time the Company tests goodwill for impairment and are typically developed as part of the Company’s routine business planning and forecasting process. While the Company believes its estimates and assumptions are reasonable, variations from those estimates could produce materially different results.
Business Combinations
Business Combinations. The Company recognizes, with certain exceptions, 100 percent of the fair value of assets acquired, liabilities assumed, and non controlling interests when the acquisition constitutes a change in control of the acquired entity. Shares issued in consideration for a business combination, contingent consideration arrangements and pre-acquisition loss and gain contingencies are all measured and recorded at their acquisition-date fair value. Subsequent changes to fair value of contingent consideration arrangements are generally reflected in earnings. Any in-process research and development assets acquired are capitalized as are certain acquisition-related restructuring costs if the criteria related to exit or disposal cost obligations are met as of the acquisition date. Acquisition-related transaction costs are expensed as incurred and any changes in an acquirer’s existing income tax valuation allowances and tax uncertainty accruals are recorded as an adjustment to income tax expense. The operating results of entities acquired are included in the accompanying consolidated statements of operations from the date of acquisition.
Deferred Financing Costs
Deferred Financing Costs. Deferred financing costs incurred in connection with the issuance of debt are amortized over the life of the related debt using the effective interest rate method for term loans and straight line method for revolving credit facilities.
Income Taxes
Income Taxes. The Company files a standalone consolidated U.S. federal tax return beginning with the year ended December 31, 2013. Deferred income tax assets and liabilities have been provided in recognition of the income tax effect attributable to the book and tax basis differences of assets and liabilities reported in the accompanying consolidated financial statements. Deferred tax assets or liabilities are provided using the enacted tax rates expected to apply to taxable income in the periods in which they are expected to be settled or realized. Interest and penalties relating to uncertain tax positions are recognized in interest expense and administrative and general, respectively, in the accompanying consolidated statements of operations. The Company records a valuation allowance to reduce its deferred tax assets if it is more likely than not that some portion or all of the deferred tax assets will not be realized.
Prior to the Spin-off, the Company was included in the consolidated U.S. federal income tax return of SEACOR. SEACOR’s policy for allocation of U.S. federal income taxes required its subsidiaries to compute their provision for U.S. federal income taxes on a separate company basis and settle with SEACOR. Net operating loss benefits were settled with SEACOR on a current basis and were used in the consolidated U.S. federal income tax return to offset taxable profits of other affiliates.
Foreign Currency Translation and Transactions
Foreign Currency Translation. Certain of the Company’s equity investments and advances were measured using their functional currency, which is the currency of the primary foreign economic environment in which they operate. These investments are translated to U.S. dollars at currency exchange rates as of the balance sheet dates and its equity earnings (losses) at the weighted average currency exchange rates during the applicable reporting periods. Translation adjustments are reported in other comprehensive income in the accompanying consolidated statements of comprehensive income.
Foreign Currency Transactions. From time to time, the Company enters into transactions denominated in currencies other than its functional currency. Gains and losses resulting from changes in currency exchange rates between the functional currency and the currency in which a transaction is denominated are included in foreign currency gains (losses), net in the accompanying consolidated statements of operations in the period which the currency exchange rates change.
Earnings (Loss) Per Common Share
Earnings (Loss) Per Common Share. Basic earnings (loss) per common share of the Company are computed based on the weighted average number of common shares issued and outstanding during the relevant periods. Diluted earnings (loss) per common share of the Company are computed based on the weighted average number of common shares issued and outstanding plus the effect of potentially dilutive securities through the application of the if-converted method and/or treasury method. Dilutive securities for this purpose assumes all common shares have been issued and outstanding during the relevant periods pursuant to the conversion of all outstanding Series A Preferred Stock and common shares have been issued pursuant to the exercise of outstanding stock options.
Savings Plan
Savings Plan. The Company provides a defined contribution plan (the “Savings Plan”) for its eligible U.S.-based employees. The Savings Plan provides for qualified, non-elective Company contributions in an amount equal to 3% of each employee’s eligible pay plus an amount equal to 100% of an employee’s first 3% of wages invested in the Savings Plan and immediate and full vesting in the Company’s contributions. The Savings Plan is subject to annual review by the Board of Directors of Era Group. The Company’s Savings Plan costs were $3.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2014. Prior to an amendment effective January 1, 2014, the Company’s contribution to the Savings Plan was limited to 50% of an employee’s first 6% of wages invested in the Savings Plan. The Company’s Savings Plan costs were $1.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2013. Prior to 2013, SEACOR provided a defined contribution plan for participating employees. The Company’s Savings Plan costs were $1.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2012.
Recent Accounting Pronouncements
Recent Accounting Pronouncements. In May 2014, the Financial Accounting Standards Board issued Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) 2014-09 - Revenue From Contracts With Customers, which will base revenue recognition on the contract between a vendor and customer and will require reporting entities to allocate the transaction price to various performance obligations in a contract and recognize revenues when those performance obligations are satisfied. ASU 2014-09 will be effective for annual periods beginning after December 15, 2016 and any interim periods within that period. Early adoption is not permitted. The Company is currently evaluating the potential impact and the method of the adoption of ASU 2014-09 on its consolidated financial statements.