Canadian Helicopters reports second quarter results



    MONTREAL, Aug. 14 /CNW Telbec/ - Canadian Helicopters Income Fund
(TSX: CHL.UN) ("the Fund"), the largest helicopter transportation services
company operating in Canada, today announced its financial and operating
results for the second quarter and six-month period ended June 30, 2008.

    SECOND-QUARTER RESULTS

    Revenue reached $41.6 million, an increase of 6.1%, or $2.4 million, over
revenue of $39.2 million a year ago. Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) revenue
increased by $2.2 million, Ancillary revenue including the CFTS contract grew
$0.4 million, while Visual Flight Rules (VFR) revenue decreased by
$0.2 million. Revenue growth denotes firmer pricing and a service mix
generating higher hourly rates resulting primarily from the addition of a new
IFR aircraft to service Oil and Gas activities. Slightly lower VFR revenue was
due to less utility and resource work in certain areas as well as reduced fire
suppression activities because of cool and wet weather during the quarter.
    Revenue-earning flying hours for the three-month period were down 6.2% to
21,038 hours. Strong activity in the mining sector primarily in eastern and
northern Canada was offset by fewer hours flown by light aircraft in western
Canada. Reduced resource and utility work in certain areas and lower fire
suppression activities also contributed to the reduction.
    EBITDA amounted to $9.1 million, down from $10.8 million a year earlier,
a decline essentially due to increased crew costs, including wages and
training related to the new IFR aircraft. This new aircraft also increased the
Fund's operating lease expenses. Net earnings before non-controlling interest
were $6.7 million, or $0.50 per unit, down from $8.5 million, or $0.64 per
unit, a year ago.
    "Demand for our services remains solid, which is a testimony to the
strength of our business model," said Jean-Pierre Blais, President of Canadian
Helicopters Income Fund. "In spite of volatile economic environment, the Fund
generated strong revenue performance and strong cash flow. Second quarter
results were impacted by increased crew costs, a reality affecting the entire
industry."
    During the quarter, cash flows from operating activities before net
change in non-cash working capital balances reached $9.4 million compared with
$10.6 million a year earlier. The Fund generated distributable cash of
$11.5 million, or $0.87 per unit, an increase of 13.2% over distributable cash
of $10.2 million, or $0.76 per unit, last year. This improvement is explained
by proceeds from disposal of property, plant and equipment in excess of
additions to such assets. As of June 30, 2008, the Fund's balance sheet
remains strong with total debt of $14.9 million, down from $21.0 million
twelve months earlier.

    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Financial Highlights
    (in thousands of               Quarters ended           Six months ended
     dollars, except per                  June 30,                   June 30,
     unit data)                 2008         2007          2008         2007
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Revenue                    41,582      39,220        66,581       63,546
    EBITDA (1)                  9,140      10,781         6,783        9,065
    Net earnings before
     non-controlling interest   6,673       8,459         5,246        7,325
      Per unit - basic and
       diluted ($)               0.50        0.64          0.40         0.55
    Distributable cash         11,490      10,151         7,943        7,857
      Per unit - basic and
       diluted ($)               0.87        0.76          0.60         0.59
    Weighted-average units
     outstanding (basic)   13,280,000   13,280,000   13,280,000   13,280,000
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (1) Earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation and
        amortization, gain or loss on disposal of property, plant and
        equipment and non-controlling interest


    SIX-MONTH RESULTS

    Canadian Helicopters' revenue stood at $66.6 million, an increase of 4.9%,
or $3.1 million, over revenue of $63.5 million in the first half of 2007. IFR
revenue increased by $2.7 million essentially from higher oil and gas based
activity, Ancillary revenue increased by $0.4 million, while VFR revenue was
stable with higher pricing offsetting reduced volumes. Canadian Helicopters
flew 31,633 hours in the first six months of 2008 compared with 33,774 hours
in 2007, representing a decrease of 6.3%.
    EBITDA reached $6.8 million compared with $9.1 million last year, while
net earnings before non-controlling interest amounted to $5.2 million, or
$0.40 per unit, versus $7.3 million a year earlier. Cash flows from operating
activities before net changes in non-cash working capital balances amounted to
$8.1 million, a decrease of 8.5% over cash flows of $8.9 million in the first
six months of 2007. Distributable cash of $7.9 million for the first half of
2008 was stable versus the same period a year ago due partly to net proceeds
on disposal of assets.

    OUTLOOK

    "The mining sector should remain a solid contributor going forward,
especially in the northern reaches of the country. While increased crew costs
represent a concern, firmer pricing in certain sectors should alleviate some
of these pressures. A strong balance sheet and low payout ratio also provide
Canadian Helicopters with a safety caution as well as the flexibility to grow
through acquisition or fleet purchases, " concluded Mr. Blais.

    CONFERENCE CALL

    Canadian Helicopters will hold a conference call to discuss these results
August 15 at 11:00 AM (ET.). Interested parties can join the call by dialing
416-644-3419 (local) or 800-732-6179 (toll free). If you are unable to call at
this time, you may access a tape recording of the meeting by calling
416-640-1917 (local) or 877-289-8525 (toll free) followed by access code
#21279927. This tape recording will be available on August 15, 2008 until
August 22, 2008.

    ABOUT CANADIAN HELICOPTERS INCOME FUND

    Through Canadian Helicopters Limited, Canadian Helicopters Income Fund is
the largest helicopter transportation services company operating in Canada and
one of the largest in the world based on the size of its fleet. From over
40 base locations across Canada, Canadian Helicopters provides helicopter
services to a broad range of sectors, including emergency medical services,
infrastructure maintenance, utilities, oil and gas, forestry, mining and
construction. In addition to helicopter transportation services, Canadian
Helicopters operates three flight schools and provides third party repair and
maintenance services. With over 60 years of experience, Canadian Helicopters
is an industry leader in establishing safety standards and operating
procedures.

    FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

    This press release contains forward-looking statements relating to the
future performance of the Fund. Forward-looking statements, specifically those
concerning future performance, are subject to certain risks and uncertainties,
and actual results may differ materially. Consequently, readers should not
place any undue reliance on such forward-looking statements. In addition,
these forward-looking statements relate to the date on which they were made.
The Fund disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any
forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future
events or otherwise unless being required by applicable laws.

    DEFINITION OF NON-GAAP MEASURES: EBITDA, STANDARDIZED DISTRIBUTABLE CASH
    AND DISTRIBUTABLE CASH

    References to "EBITDA" are to earnings (loss) before interest, income
taxes, depreciation and amortization, gain or loss on disposal of property,
plant and equipment and non-controlling interest, as disclosed in the Summary
of Selected Consolidated Financial Information.
    Standardized Distributable Cash is a non-GAAP measure recommended by the
Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants ("CICA") in order to provide a
consistent and comparable measurement of distributable cash across entities.
Standardized Distributable Cash represents cash flows from operating
activities, less adjustments for net maintenance capital expenditures as
reported in accordance with GAAP.
    Management views Distributable Cash as an operating performance measure,
as it is a measure generally used by Canadian income funds as an indicator of
financial performance. Distributable Cash is defined as Standardized
Distributable Cash plus the net change in non-cash working capital balances.
Distributable Cash is important as it summarizes the funds available for
distribution to Unitholders.
    EBITDA, Standardized Distributable Cash and Distributable Cash are not
earnings measures recognized under GAAP and do not have standardized meanings
prescribed by GAAP. Therefore, EBITDA, Standardized Distributable Cash and
Distributable Cash may not be comparable with similar measures presented by
other entities. Investors are cautioned that EBITDA, Standardized
Distributable Cash and Distributable Cash should not be construed as an
alternative to net earnings (loss) determined in accordance with GAAP as
indicators of the Fund's performance, or to cash flows from operating,
investing and financing activities as measures of liquidity and cash flows.

    Note to readers: Complete consolidated financial statements and 
Management's Discussion & Analysis of Operating Results and Financial Position
are available on Canadian Helicopters' website at www.canadianhelicopters.com
and on SEDAR at www.sedar.com .
    




For further information:

For further information: Jean-Pierre Blais, President, Canadian
Helicopters Income Fund, (450) 452-3007; Don Wall, Senior Executive
Vice-President, Canadian Helicopters Income Fund, (780) 429-6919


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