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February 29, 2012 at 16:01 PM EST
Air Methods Reports Year 2011 Results and 1Q2012 Update
Fourth Quarter 2011 Fully-Diluted Earnings Per-Share of $0.96 Includes $0.16 Per-Share Impact of Upfront Expenses of New Pilot Union Contract, Financial Restatement Costs, and Loss on Asset Disposition

DENVER, Feb. 29, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Air Methods Corporation (Nasdaq:AIRM), the global leader in air medical transportation, reported revenue and net income for the year and fourth quarter ended December 31, 2011.

For the year, revenue increased 18% to $660.5 million compared to $562.0 million in the prior year. Net income increased 9% to $46.6 million, or $3.63 per diluted share, in the current year from $42.8 million, or $3.39 per diluted share, in the prior year. Earnings before interest, depreciation and amortization, and income tax expenses (EBITDA) increased 13% to $170.9 million compared to $150.7 million in the prior year.    

For the fourth quarter, revenue increased 29% to $193.3 million as compared with $150.4 million during the prior-year period. Net income decreased slightly to $12.4 million, or $0.96 per diluted share, compared to net income of $12.5 million, or $0.99 per diluted share, in the prior-year period. EBITDA increased 15% to $47.8 million compared to $41.5 million in the prior-year quarter. 

On August 1, 2011, the Company acquired 100% of the outstanding common stock of OF Air Holdings Corporation and its subsidiaries, including Omniflight Helicopters, Inc. (together, Omniflight). The results of operations for the year and quarter ended December 31, 2011 include the consolidated operations of Omniflight since the date of the acquisition. Pre-tax earnings were reduced by approximately $2.3 million and $0.5 million for the year and fourth quarter, respectively, for transaction costs and employee severance expenses related to the acquisition of Omniflight. Pre-tax earnings for both periods were further reduced by $2.2 million for retrospective compensation paid to pilots associated with the negotiation of a new collective bargaining agreement. The quarter ended December 31, 2011 also included $0.3 million and $0.9 million in pre-tax expense associated with the financial restatement and asset dispositions, respectively. 

Fourth Quarter Highlights

Revenue from Community-Based Services increased 44% to $134.4 million from $93.6 million, while segment net income increased 17% to $25.8 million during the fourth quarter, as compared with segment net income of $22.0 million in the prior-year quarter. Net revenue per community-based transport increased 10% to $10,099 compared with $9,175 in the prior-year quarter. Total community-based patient transports increased 30% to 13,128 in the current-year quarter from 10,071 in the prior-year quarter. Community-based patient transports for bases open greater than one year (Same-Base Transports) and excluding Omniflight transports decreased 10%, or 1,031 transports, as compared with the prior-year quarter. Weather cancellations for these same-base locations decreased by 105 transports compared with the prior-year quarter.

Revenue from Hospital-Based Services increased by 3% to $50.5 million from $49.1 million, while segment net income decreased to $1.6 million in the current-year quarter from $2.8 million during the prior-year quarter. This decrease in earnings is attributed primarily to the retrospective pilot compensation referenced above.

Consolidated maintenance expense for the current-year quarter increased by only 16%, or $3.6 million, despite an increase in flight volume of 22%. Fuel costs for community-based operations increased $2.2 million during the current-year quarter as compared to the prior-year quarter, representing a 74% increase. This increase is attributed to a 30% increase in community-based patient transports and $0.5 million pre-tax loss associated with mark-to market of 2011 and 2012 fuel hedges.    

Revenue from our United Rotorcraft (formerly Products) Division, excluding revenue generated from internal projects, increased to $8.4 million from $7.7 million in the prior-year quarter, a 9% increase. Segment net income, excluding internal projects, decreased to $1.3 million from $2.2 million in the prior-year quarter.

The Company also provided an update on preliminary January 2012 flight volume and net revenue per community-based transport. Total community-based transports during January 2012 were 4,167 compared with 2,842 during January 2011, reflecting a 47% increase. Same-Base Transports (excluding Omniflight transports) for January decreased 6 transports, or less than 1%, while weather cancellations for these same bases decreased by 512 transports. Preliminary net revenue per community-based transport during January 2012 increased to $10,118 compared with $9,049 during January 2011, a 12% increase.  

Aaron Todd, Chief Executive Officer, stated, "We are pleased with the annual and quarterly results in light of Omniflight transaction and transition costs and the upfront expense associated with our successful negotiation of a new collective bargaining agreement with our pilots. We are pleased with the increases to earnings and EBITDA that the Omniflight acquisition has produced to-date. We are essentially complete with our transition activities and look forward to the benefit of a full year of combined operations, with fully-realized synergies and elimination of costs associated with the acquisition and transition. Recent softness in Same-Base Transports has been more than offset by better than anticipated reimbursement. Mild weather in January, combined with continued strength in reimbursement, has given us a strong start for the first month of 2012."

The Company will discuss these results in a conference call scheduled today at 4:15 p.m. Eastern. Interested parties can access the call by dialing (877) 883-0656 (domestic) or (706) 643-8826 (international) or by accessing the web cast at www.airmethods.com. A replay of the call will be available at (855) 859-2056 (domestic) or (404) 537-3406 (international), access number 56367356, for 3 days following the call and the web cast can be accessed at www.airmethods.com for 30 days.

Air Methods Corporation (www.airmethods.com) is the global leader in air medical transportation. The Hospital Based Services Division is the largest provider of air medical transport services for hospitals. The Community Based Services Division is one of the largest community-based providers of air medical services. United Rotorcraft Division specializes in the design and manufacture of aeromedical and aerospace technology. Air Methods' fleet of owned, leased or maintained aircraft features over 400 helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.

The Air Methods Corporation logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=6955

Forward Looking Statements: Forward-looking statements in this news release are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Statements in this press release that are "forward-looking statements" are based on current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially from those currently anticipated due to a number of factors, including but not limited to, the size, structure and growth of the Company's air medical services and United Rotorcraft Division; the collection rates for patient transports; the continuation and/or renewal of air medical service contracts; the ability of the Company to successfully finalize the integration of Omniflight; the anticipated synergies associated with the acquisition of Omniflight; extreme weather conditions across the U.S., and other matters set forth in the Company's filings with the SEC. The Company is under no obligation (and expressly disclaims any obligation) to update or alter its forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Please contact Christine Clarke at (303) 792-7579 to be included on the Company's fax and/or mailing list.

– FINANCIAL STATEMENTS ATTACHED –

AIR METHODS CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
 UNAUDITED CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
 (Amounts in thousands)
December 31, 2011 December 31, 2010
ASSETS
Current assets:
Cash and cash equivalents  $ 3,562  $ 60,710
Trade receivables, net 187,056 132,329
Other current assets 65,101 44,953
Total current assets 255,719 237,992
Net property and equipment 569,578 444,743
Other assets, net 203,174 40,375
Total assets  $ 1,028,471  $ 723,110
LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY
Current liabilities:
Notes payable related to aircraft pending long-term financing  $ 27,940 $ -- 
Current portion of indebtedness 67,989 57,198
Accounts payable, accrued expenses and other 74,779 58,195
Total current liabilities 170,708 115,393
Long-term indebtedness 483,886 312,816
Other non-current liabilities 85,975 61,472
Total liabilities 740,569 489,681
Total stockholders' equity 287,902 233,429
Total liabilities and stockholders' equity  $ 1,028,471  $ 723,110
AIR METHODS CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARIES
 UNAUDITED CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME
 (Amounts in thousands, except share and per share amounts)
Quarter Ended
December 31,
Year Ended
December 31,
2011 2010 2011 2010
Revenue:
Flight operations  $ 183,103 141,127 623,229 533,852
Product operations 8,418 7,707 30,462 22,447
Other 1,789 1,550 6,858 5,703
Total revenue 193,310 150,384 660,549 562,002
Expenses:
Operating expenses 122,189 91,223 408,699 345,942
General and administrative 25,162 19,051 85,500 69,226
Depreciation and amortization 20,660 16,153 72,877 63,636
168,011 126,427 567,076 478,804
Operating income 25,299 23,957 93,473 83,198
Interest expense (5,868) (4,618) (20,072) (19,176)
Other, net 916 937 3,901 3,934
Income before income taxes 20,347 20,276 77,302 67,956
Income tax expense (7,945) (7,743) (30,728) (25,199)
Net income  $ 12,402 12,533 46,574 42,757
Income per common share:
 Basic  $ 0.98 1.00 3.68 3.42
 Diluted  $ 0.96 0.99 3.63 3.39
Weighted average common shares outstanding:
 Basic 12,709,576 12,555,672  12,666,474  12,496,513
 Diluted 12,868,935 12,688,595  12,827,595  12,596,414
CONTACT: Aaron D. Todd, Chief Executive Officer
         (303) 792-7413
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