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GLF > SEC Filings for GLF > Form 10-K on 23-Feb-2012All Recent SEC Filings

Show all filings for GULFMARK OFFSHORE INC



Annual Report

ITEM 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

This information should be read in conjunction with our Consolidated Financial Statements, including the notes thereto, contained in Part II, Item 8 "Consolidated Financial Statements and Supplementary Data". See also Part II, Item 6 "Selected Consolidated Financial Data".

Our Business Strategy

Our goal is to enhance our position as a premier provider of offshore marine services by achieving higher vessel utilization rates, relatively stable growth rates and returns on investments that are superior to those of our competitors. Key elements in implementing our strategy include:

Developing and maintaining a large, modern, diversified and technologically advanced fleet: Our fleet size, location and profile allow us to provide a full range of services to our customers from platform supply work to specialized floating, production, storage and offloading, or FPSO support, including anchor handling and remotely operated vehicle, or ROV, operations. We regularly upgrade our fleet to improve capability, reliability and customer satisfaction. We also seek to take advantage of attractive opportunities to acquire or build new vessels to expand our fleet. In addition, we will sell older vessels that no longer meet our objective of maintaining a modern, diversified and technologically advanced fleet. We believe our relatively young fleet, which requires less maintenance and refurbishment work during required drydockings than older fleets, allows for less downtime, resulting in more dependable operations for us and for our customers.

Enhancing fleet utilization through development of specialty applications for our vessels: We operate some of the most technologically advanced vessels available. Our highly efficient, multiple-use vessels provide our customers flexibility and are constructed with design elements such as dynamic positioning, firefighting, moon pools, ROV handling and oil spill response capabilities. In addition, we design and equip new-build vessels specifically to meet our customer needs.

Focusing on attractive markets: We conduct our operations mainly in the North Sea, offshore Southeast Asia and offshore Americas markets. Our focus on these regions is driven by what we perceive to be higher barriers to entry, lower volatility of day rates (except in the Americas) and greater potential for increasing day rates in these markets than in other markets. Our operating experience in these markets has enabled us to anticipate and profitably respond to trends, such as the increasing demand for multi-function vessels, which we believe will be met through the additions we have made in the past few years to our North Sea and Southeast Asia fleets. In addition, we have the capacity under appropriate market conditions to alter the geographic focus of our operations to a limited degree by shifting vessels between our existing markets and by entering new markets as they develop economically and become more profitable.

Managing our risk profile through chartering arrangements: We utilize various contractual arrangements in our fleet operations, including long-term charters, short-term charters, sharing arrangements and vessel alliances. Sharing arrangements provide us and our customers the opportunity to benefit from rising charter rates by subchartering the contracted vessels to third parties at prevailing market rates during any downtime in the customers' operations. We also operate and participate in arrangements where vessels of similar specifications enter into alliances which include technical cooperation. We believe these contractual arrangements help us reduce volatility in both day rates and vessel utilization and are beneficial to our customers.


We provide marine support and transportation services to companies involved in the offshore exploration and production of oil and natural gas. Our vessels transport drilling materials, supplies and personnel to offshore facilities, as well as move and position drilling structures. A substantial portion of our operations are international. Our fleet has grown in both size and capability, from an original 11 vessels in 1990 to our present number of 91 active vessels, through strategic acquisitions and the new construction of technologically advanced vessels, partially offset by dispositions of certain older, less profitable vessels. At February 23, 2012, our active fleet includes 73 owned vessels and 18 managed vessels.

Our results of operations are affected primarily by day rates, fleet utilization and the number and type of vessels in our fleet. Utilization and day rates, in turn, are influenced principally by the demand for vessel services from the exploration and production sectors of the oil and natural gas industry. The supply of vessels to meet this fluctuating demand is related directly to the perception of future activity in both the drilling and production phases of the oil and natural gas industry as well as the availability of capital to build new vessels to meet the changing market requirements.

From time to time, we bareboat charter vessels with revenue and operating expenses reported in the same income and expense categories as our owned vessels. The chartered vessels, however, incur bareboat charter fees instead of depreciation expense. Bareboat charter fees are generally higher than the depreciation expense on owned vessels of similar age and specification. The operating income realized from these vessels is therefore adversely affected by the higher costs associated with the bareboat charter fees. These vessels are included in calculating fleet day rates and utilization in the applicable periods.

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We also provide management services to other vessel owners for a fee. We do not include charter revenue and vessel expenses of these vessels in our operating results; however, management fees are included in operating revenue. These vessels are excluded for purposes of calculating fleet rates per day worked and utilization in the applicable periods.

Our operating costs are primarily a function of fleet configuration. The most significant direct operating cost is wages paid to vessel crews, followed by maintenance and repairs and insurance. Generally, fluctuations in vessel utilization have little effect on direct operating costs in the short term and, as a result, direct operating costs as a percentage of revenue may vary substantially due to changes in day rates and utilization.

In addition to direct operating costs, we incur fixed charges related to the depreciation of our fleet and costs for routine drydock inspections and modifications designed to ensure compliance with applicable regulations and maintaining certifications for our vessels with various international classification societies. The number of drydockings and other repairs undertaken in a given period generally determines maintenance and repair expenses. The demands of the market, the expiration of existing contracts, the start of new contracts, and customer preferences influence the timing of drydocks.

Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

The Consolidated Financial Statements, including notes thereto, contained in Part II, Item 8 contain information that is pertinent to management's discussion and analysis. The preparation of financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of any contingent assets and liabilities. Management believes these accounting policies involve judgment due to the sensitivity of the methods, assumptions and estimates necessary in determining the related asset and liability amounts. We believe we have exercised proper judgment in determining these estimates based on the facts and circumstances available to management at the time the estimates were made.

Income Taxes

The majority of our non-U.S. based operations are subject to foreign tax systems that provide significant incentives to qualified shipping activities. Our U.K. and Norway based vessels are taxed under "tonnage tax" regimes having a ten year term and are renewable. Our U.K. regime was renewed in November 2010 for another ten years. Our qualified Singapore based vessels are exempt from Singapore taxation through December 2017 with extensions available in certain circumstances beyond 2017. The tonnage tax regimes provide for a tax based on the net tonnage weight of a qualified vessel. These foreign tax beneficial structures continued to result in our earnings incurring significantly lower taxes than those that would apply if we were not a qualified shipping company in those jurisdictions. The tonnage tax regimes in the North Sea significantly reduce the cash required for taxes in that region.

In late 2007, Norway enacted legislation that created a new tonnage tax system from January 2007 forward and repealed the previous tonnage tax regime effective December 31, 2006 resulting in mandatory exit from Norway's tonnage tax system or payment of tax at 28% of accumulated untaxed pre-2007 profits. Accordingly, we recorded approximately $15.0 million Norwegian tax liability in 2007. Our liability for pre-2007 taxes was to be paid equally over ten years beginning in 2008. In February 2010 the Norway Supreme Court ruled the 2007 tax legislation to be unconstitutional retroactive taxation and we reversed our remaining tonnage tax liability and received a refund of the pre-2007 tonnage taxes that had been paid in 2008 and 2009, which resulted in our recording an approximately $15.0 million tax benefit in our 2010 tax provision. In June 2010, Norway's Minister of Finance published revised rules for the taxation of pre-2007 tonnage tax profits permitting a qualified tonnage tax company to elect one of two systems, or methods, to determine and pay tax on its untaxed shipping profits as of December 31, 2006. We decided to elect the simplified tax system, which beginning in 2011 requires three equal annual installment payments of the tax that is calculated as ten percent (10%) of two-thirds of the untaxed tonnage tax profits. Under this system we recorded a $4.9 million tax provision. The net result of the 2010 Norwegian tonnage tax law changes was a $10.1 million tax benefit recorded in our 2010 tax provision. Our remaining liability to settle under the simplified tax system is included in our December 31, 2011 balance sheet as $1.8 million current income tax payable and $1.8 million as other long term payable. Annually the subsequent year's cash installment is classified on our consolidated balance sheet as current income taxes payable, and the remainder is classified on our consolidated balance sheet as other income taxes payable.

Our overall effective tax rate is substantially lower than the U.S. Federal statutory income tax rate because our Southeast Asia and North Sea operations are tonnage tax qualified shipping activities that are taxed at relatively low rates or that are otherwise tax exempt. Should our operational structure change or should the laws that created these shipping tax regimes change, we could be required to provide for taxes at rates much higher than those currently reflected in our consolidated financial statements. Additionally, if our pre-tax earnings in higher tax jurisdictions increase, there could be a significant increase in our annual effective tax rate. Any such increase could cause volatility in the comparisons of our effective tax rate from period to period.

U.S. foreign tax credits can be carried forward for ten years. We have $7.2 million of such foreign tax credit carryforwards that begin to expire in 2012. In 2011 we established a $0.8 million valuation allowance for certain of our foreign tax credits. We also have certain foreign net operating loss carryforwards that result in net deferred tax assets of approximately $1.4 million after valuation allowances. We have considered estimated future taxable income in the relevant tax jurisdictions to utilize these tax credit and loss

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carryforwards and have considered what we believe to be ongoing prudent and feasible tax planning strategies in assessing the need for the valuation allowance. This information is based on estimates and assumptions including projected taxable income. If these estimates and related assumptions change in the future, or if we determine that we would not be able to realize other deferred tax assets in the future, an adjustment to the valuation allowance would be provided in the period such determination was made.

Effective January 1, 2008, Mexico legislated a new revenue based tax, which in effect is an alternative minimum tax payable to the extent that the new revenue based tax exceeds the current income tax liability. These revenue based tax rates were 17% for 2009 and are 17.5% for 2010 and beyond. Effective January 1, 2010, Mexico enacted changes to corporate income tax rates as follows: 2010 through 2012 - 30%; 2013 - 29%; and 2014 and beyond-28%.

Based on a more likely than not, or greater than 50% probability, recognition threshold and criteria for measurement of a tax position taken or expected to be taken in a tax return, we evaluate and record in certain circumstances an income tax asset/liability for uncertain income tax positions. Numerous factors contribute to our evaluation and estimation of our tax positions and related tax liabilities and/or benefits, which may be adjusted periodically and may ultimately be resolved differently than we anticipate. We also consider existing accounting guidance on derecognition, measurement, classification, interest and penalties, accounting in interim periods, disclosure and transition. Accordingly, we continue to recognize income tax related penalties and interest in our provision for income taxes and, to the extent applicable, in the corresponding consolidated balance sheet presentations for accrued income tax assets and liabilities, including any amounts for uncertain tax positions.

See also Note 1 and Note 6 to our Consolidated Financial Statements included in

Part II, Item 8.

Long-Lived Assets, Goodwill and Intangibles

Our long-lived tangible assets consist primarily of vessels and construction-in-progress. Our goodwill primarily relates to the 2001 acquisition of Sea Truck Holding AS and the 1998 acquisition of Brovig Supply AS. Our identifiable intangible assets relate to the value assigned to customer relationships as a result of the Rigdon Acquisition. The determination of impairment of all long-lived assets, goodwill, and intangibles is conducted when indicators of impairment are present and at least annually, for goodwill. In assessing goodwill for impairment, we analyze certain qualitative factors that affect the value, including goodwill, of a segment. Impairment testing on tangible long-lived assets is performed on an asset-by-asset basis and impairment testing on goodwill is performed on a reporting-unit basis for the reporting units where the goodwill is recorded.

In assessing potential impairment related to our long-lived assets, the assets' carrying values are compared with undiscounted expected future cash flows. If the carrying value of any long-lived asset is greater than the related undiscounted expected future cash flows, we measure impairment by comparing the fair value of the asset with its carrying value.

At least annually, we assess whether goodwill is impaired based on certain qualitative factors. If those factors indicate that it is more likely than not that impairment of goodwill has occurred, we will proceed to step one of the goodwill impairment process. Under step one, we assess whether impairment exists by comparing the fair value of each operating segment to its carrying value, including goodwill. We use a combination of two valuation methods, a market approach and an income approach, to estimate the fair value of our operating segments.

We have classified one of our North Sea vessels as an asset held for sale. In the fourth quarter of 2011, we determined that the carrying value of this asset was less than our estimate of the amount we would realize in a sale. As a result, we reduced the carrying value by $1.8 million. This amount is included in our results of operations as an impairment charge.

In our 2008 Rigdon Acquisition, we made a significant acquisition of vessels in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico component of our Americas region. In conjunction with the acquisition, we recorded $97.7 million of goodwill. In the second quarter of 2010, we assessed our Americas region goodwill for impairment. In our assessment, we evaluated the impact on the segment's fair value due to the Macondo Incident, the resulting oil spill and the drilling moratorium. Based on the factors discussed above, which were incorporated into our evaluations and testing as prescribed under U.S. GAAP, we determined that an impairment of our Americas region goodwill existed, and accordingly we recorded a $97.7 million impairment charge as of June 30, 2010, reflecting all of our Americas region goodwill. The non-cash charge did not impact our liquidity or debt covenant compliance. See Note 2 to the Consolidated Financial Statements contained in

Part II, Item 8.

In the third quarter of 2007, Bender Shipbuilding and Repair Co., Inc. ("Bender"), a Mobile, Alabama based company, was contracted to build three PSVs. In March 2009, we notified Bender that it was in default under our contract as a result of non-performance. We determined that we had a material impairment and recognized a charge of $46.2 million in the first quarter of 2009 relating to the construction in progress recorded under this contract. See Note 2 to the Consolidated Financial Statements contained in Part II, Item 8.

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Drydocking, Mobilization and Financing Costs

The periodic requirements of the various classification societies requires vessels to be placed in drydock twice in a five-year period. Generally, drydocking costs include refurbishment of structural components as well as major overhaul of operating equipment, subject to scrutiny by the relevant classification society. We expense these costs as incurred.

In connection with new long-term contracts, incremental costs incurred that directly relate to mobilization of a vessel from one region to another are deferred and recognized over the primary contract term. Should the contract be terminated by either party prior to the end of the contract term, the deferred amount would be immediately expensed. In contrast, costs of relocating vessels from one region to another without a contract are expensed as incurred.

Deferred financing costs are capitalized as incurred and are amortized over the expected term of the related debt. Should the specific debt terminate by means of payment in full, tender offer or lender termination, the associated deferred financing costs would be immediately expensed.

Allowance for Doubtful Accounts

Our customers are primarily major and independent oil and gas companies, national oil companies and oil service companies. Given our experience where our historical losses have been insignificant and our belief that our related credit risks are minimal, our major and independent oil and gas company and oil service company customers are granted credit on customary business terms. Our exposure to foreign government-owned and controlled oil and gas companies, as well as companies that provide logistics, construction or other services to such oil and natural gas companies, may result in longer payment terms; however, we monitor our aged accounts receivable on an ongoing basis and provide an allowance for doubtful accounts in accordance with our written corporate policy. This formalized policy ensures there is a critical review of our aged accounts receivable to evaluate the collectability of our receivables and to establish appropriate allowances for bad debt. This policy states that a reserve for bad debt is to be established if an account receivable is outstanding a year or longer. The amount of such reserve to be established by management is based on the facts and circumstances relating to the particular customer.

Historically, we have collected appreciably all of our accounts receivable balances. At December 31, 2011 and 2010 we provided an allowance for doubtful accounts of $0.2 million and $0.3 million, respectively. Additional allowances for doubtful accounts may be necessary as a result of our ongoing assessment of our customers' ability to pay, particularly in the event of deteriorating economic conditions. Since amounts due from individual customers can be significant, future adjustments to our allowance for doubtful accounts could be material if one or more individual customer balances are deemed uncollectible. If an account receivable were deemed uncollectible and all reasonable collection efforts were exhausted, the balance would be removed from accounts receivable and the allowance for doubtful accounts.

Commitments and Contingencies

We have contingent liabilities and future claims for which we have made estimates of the amount of the eventual cost to liquidate these liabilities or claims. These liabilities and claims may involve threatened or actual litigation where damages have not been specifically quantified but we have made an assessment of our exposure and recorded a provision in our accounts for the expected loss. Other claims or liabilities, including those related to taxes in foreign jurisdictions, may be estimated based on our experience in these matters and, where appropriate, the advice of outside counsel or other outside experts. Upon the ultimate resolution of the uncertainties surrounding our estimates of contingent liabilities and future claims, our future reported financial results will be impacted by the difference, if any, between our estimates and the actual amounts paid to settle the liabilities. In addition to estimates related to litigation and tax liabilities, other examples of liabilities requiring estimates of future exposure include contingencies arising out of acquisitions and divestitures. Our contingent liabilities are based on the most recent information available to us regarding the nature of the exposure. Such exposures change from period to period based upon updated relevant facts and circumstances, which can cause the estimate to change. In the recent past, our estimates for contingent liabilities have been sufficient to cover the actual amount of our exposure.

We have recently been made aware that a Brazilian state in which we have operated vessels has asserted that certain companies could be assessed for state import taxes with respect to vessels that have operated within Brazilian coastal waters. We have neither been formally assessed nor threatened with this tax. No accrual has been recorded as of December 31, 2011 for any liabilities associated with a possible future assessment. We cannot predict whether any such tax assessment may be made in the future.

Multi-employer Pension Obligation

Certain current and former U.K. subsidiaries are participating in a multi employer retirement fund known as the Merchant Navy Officers Pension Fund (MNOPF). At December 31, 2011, we had $4.5 million accrued related to this liability, which reflects all obligations assessed by the fund's trustee on the Company. We continue to have employees who participate in the MNOPF and will as a result continue to make routine payments to the fund as those employees accrue additional benefits over time. The status of the fund

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is calculated by an actuarial firm every three years. The last assessment was completed in March 2009 and indicated that the funding level of the MNOPF at that date was between 65 and 80%. The MNOPF annual report dated March 31, 2011, stated that the funding level had improved to over 80% as of that date. The amount and timing of additional potential future obligations relating to underfunding depends on a number of factors, but principally on future fund performance and the underlying actuarial assumptions. Our share of the fund's deficit is dependent on a number of factors including future actuarial valuations, asset performance, the number of participating employers, and the final method used in allocating the required contribution among participating employers. In addition, our obligation could increase if other employers no longer participated in the plan. We made contributions to the plan of $0.3 million, $0.6 million and $0.5 million for the years ended December 31, 2011, 2010 and 2009, respectively. Our contributions do not make up more than five percent of total contributions to the plan.

Cancellation of Split Dollar Life Insurance Plans

In June 2011, we cancelled the split dollar insurance agreements (the "Collateral Assignments") under which we paid the split-dollar life insurance policy premiums (the "Premiums") for our President and Chief Executive Officer and our Executive Vice President - Operations. Upon cancellation and pursuant to the term of the Collateral Assignments, we were repaid the Premiums by each covered individual and are no longer obligated to make any future premium payments on the policies. We continue to have a supplemental income plan with participation agreements, as amended, for each covered individual under which we will provide each covered individual, six months after retirement with the Company, a cash payment equal to the Premiums.

Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

We have evaluated our off-balance sheet arrangements, and have concluded that we do not have any material relationships with unconsolidated entities or financial partnerships that have been established for the purpose of facilitating off-balance sheet arrangements (as that term is defined in Item 303(a)(4)(ii) of Regulations S-K). Based on this evaluation we believe that no disclosures relating to off-balance sheet arrangements are required.

Consolidated Results of Operations

Comparison of the Fiscal Years Ended December 31, 2011 and December 31, 2010

Our consolidated revenue increased from $359.8 million to $381.9 million, or $22.1 million, primarily due to higher day rates in the North Sea and Americas regions. For the year ended December 31, 2011, we had net income of $49.9 million, or $1.91 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $34.7 million, or $1.36 per diluted share, for the year ended December 31, 2010.

The increase in revenue was primarily the result of increased day rates and the foreign currency impact of a weaker U.S. Dollar. Day rates increased 5.6% in 2011, from $15,758 in 2010 to $16,642 in 2011, contributing $14.6 million to the increase in revenue. The weakening of the U.S. Dollar and other currency movements contributed $8.2 million to the revenue increase. This increase was offset by a small decrease in utilization from 85.5% in 2010 to 85.3% in 2011, decreasing revenue by $0.5 million. Capacity effects decreased revenue by $0.2 million.

                                                       Year Ended December 31,
                                                 2011          2010         (Decrease)
                                                        (Dollars in thousands)
 Average Rates Per Day Worked (a) (b):
 North Sea (c)                                 $ 20,071      $ 16,985      $      3,086
 Southeast Asia                                  15,053        16,943            (1,890 )
 Americas                                        14,526        14,281               245
 Overall Utilization (a) (b):
 North Sea (c)                                     92.4 %        93.5 %            (1.1 )%
 Southeast Asia                                    85.1 %        84.7 %             0.4 %
. . .
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