(which relate to ONI personnel or companies in one way and another)

Petroleum Helicopters Inc. Enters Chapter 11 Bankruptcy March 15, 2019
Unable to pay off $500 million in debt that came due, Lafayette-based helicopter services company PHI Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a Texas court. Click HERE to read article

Petroleum Helicopters Inc. Successfully Completes Chapter 11 Debt Restructuring September 04, 2019
PHI, Inc. Successfully Completes Chapter 11 Debt Restructuring. PHI and Its Principal U.S. Subsidiaries Are Now Well Positioned for Long-Term Success with a More Sustainable Debt Structure and Strengthened Balance Sheet. Click HERE to read article.

Changing Times, Technology Sealed Offshore Navigation's Fate January 23, 1995

New Orleans

Source:  New Orleans cityBusiness
Date:  01/23/1995
Document ID:  PN20000204060635927
Subject(s):  Turnaround management; Strategic planning; Southwest; Executives; Engineering firms; Divestiture; Business conditions
Citation Information:  ISSN: 0279-4527; Vol. 15 No. 29; p. 6
Author(s):  Keith Darce
Changing times, technology sealed Offshore Navigation's fate

George Roussel knew things were bad at Offshore Navigation Inc. (ONI) when he returned to the company from retirement last September to help salvage the troubled business. .After two years of mounting losses, the offshore radio positioning company found itself in a rapidly shrinking market with few opportunities to replace shriveling revenues.

Last September, ONI executives launched a new strategic business plan. In October they began laying off about half the company's 100 workers, in hopes of breathing new life into the 49-year-old firm.But by the end of the year it was apparent that things were too far gone. That's when ONI's board of directors decided to sell off the company's assets, including its headquarters and warehouse facility at 5728 Jefferson Highway.

The sale of the public company is not expected to affect ONI's sister company, Petroleum Helicopters Inc., which shares offices with the smaller firm. The companies also share a board chairwoman, Carrol Suggs, whose husband was a founder of both businesses.

Market analyst G. Bryan Dutt, with Howard, Weil, Labouisse, Friedrichs Inc. of New Orleans, says the decision by ONI officials to sell the company seems to be the right move considering market conditions."It's a small operation and its stock is completely illiquid," he says. Roussel says he and other members of the company's board believed conditions would only worsen if they delayed what appeared to be ONI's inevitable fate. "We decided to go ahead and sell now while we still had something to sell ... Our business has just disappeared, and efforts to replace it with new business have not succeeded."

However, the road to that decision was not an easy one. Until the 11th hour, company officials held out hope that they would find some way to save the business. ONI's problems are rooted in advancing technology and a constricting market, says Roussel. For years, ONI prospered because it offered customers, mostly oil and gas companies, high-tech positioning, mapping and surveying services. The company got its start in 1946, using World War II radar equipment it bought from the U.S. military to provide precise positioning for offshore drilling projects.

As technology improved, so did ONI's arsenal of equipment. In the early 1980s, at the peak of domestic oil drilling, ONI employed more than 200 workers who utilized the latest in satellite positioning systems to locate targets, to within meters, anywhere on the globe.  Roussel says business started to slow in the mid-1980s as drilling activity tapered and oil companies began to merge.

It was through mergers, he says, that ONI lost many of its customers -- larger companies that bought up smaller companies often provided their own positioning services in-house. Roussel believes the market will tighten even more in the coming year after the U.S. Coast Guard begins offering satellite navigation signals throughout the Gulf Coast. Although the primary purpose of those signals will be to improve maritime safety, Roussel says anyone willing to invest in a receiver will be able to use the broadcast to locate geographic targets precisely.

ONI's 1992 fiscal year marked the beginning of a rapid decline for the company. Over a two-year period, revenues fell a staggering 59 percent, from $14.9 million in 1992 to just $62 million in 1994. In 1993 the company lost $1.9 million, and in 1994 it lost 2.9 million.  ONI tried to diversify its services to bring in new revenues. One of the more successful additions was a new land survey service for geophysical operations. "We've done fairly well with it," Roussel says, "but it's not owing as fast as other businesses are leaving us."

ONI has entered a wind-down phase. In coming months, company officials will peddle nearly 6 million of equipment and other assets, which include offices in Houston, Australia, Norway, Malaysia and Indonesia. Roussel says sales of all assets may take as long as six months.

Copyright New Orleans Publishing Group Inc. Jan 23, 1995

©1995 UMI Company; All Rights Reserved. Only fair use, as provided by the United States copyright law, is permitted. UMI Company makes no warranty regarding the accuracy, completeness or timelines of the Publications or the records they contain, or any warranty, express or implied, including any warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose, and shall not be liable for damages of any kind or lost profits or other claims related to them or their use.

Portions of above Copyright © 1997-2001, Northern Light Technology Inc. All rights reserved.

The Story of Hastings-Raydist

A 16-year-old boy picked up the Baltimore telephone directory and looked for the name of someone, anyone, who lived within walking distance of his home. Finding such a name, he lifted the telephone receiver and dialed.

"Hello," answered a voice.
"Hello. I understand you have a radio that needs to be fixed," the boy said.
"Well yes, I do have a broken radio …"
"I'll be right over."
Click. The boy hung up without giving the voice a chance to say no.
Charles Hastings had landed himself another customer.

To read the rest of The Story of Hastings-Raydist click HERE


Petroleum Helicopters

Since the spring of 2018, PHI has been working closely with our advisors to address the company’s matured debt, strengthen our balance sheet, grow our global position, and protect our future. After a careful review of all strategic options, on March 14, 2019, PHI’s principal US entities took action to best position the company for continued success by filing for voluntary Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas. We are confident that this filing is the best option to achieve our goals and secure a timely and efficient resolution to protect our future.

Due to the nature of our debt structure, the Chapter 11 filing only includes PHI’s US entities, not our international entities. All of our business units and services – whether included in the filing or not – are operating as usual, including maintaining necessary supply levels and fleet maintenance procedures, and providing the same safe, high-quality service that our customers know and expect from us. This filing is also not about PHI’s liquidity as a company – we have enough cash on hand to continue operating business as usual and meet all of our commitments to our stakeholders.

We are proud of the values that guide our work and ensure the safety of our people and our customers. We are resolute in our commitment to not only uphold, but to purposefully ensure that our Core Values of Safety, Quality, Efficiency and Customer Service will remain our top priority throughout this process. Nothing about the announcement changes our commitment to supporting our people, our operations, and our customers.

We are confident that we will complete this process as a stronger company and business partner, with a more sustainable debt structure to underpin our long-term success well into the future. Thank you for your continued trust and partnership in PHI.


Who recalls ONI Mobile Op, Richard Meuller? DT: I worked with him and we got on well. He was very friendly, always well dressed and smartly turned out, and even then favored the high-life. He offered to show me round Berlin at the end of the job, but as things turned out I was sent on another project and we never met again. Who knows, maybe I would have become a multi-millionaire too. There again, being British rather than German, I would probably have ended up in the slammer, or the run!   I had completely forgotten about Richard until Hans Karlsson sent me this report from the US News & World Report for July 31st 1989

On June26th, after a one day trial, Richard Mueller stood in a West German federal court in Lubeck awaiting sentence. Mueller been found guilty of shipping $14 million worth of militarily sensitive (mostly American) equipment to the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies, in violation of an embargo agreed upon by the United States and its principal allies, including the Federal Republic of Germany. Mueller had supplied the Soviet military with advanced Western technology it could not purchase legally. At his trial, Mueller had lied and said he had not known there were any military applications for the equipment he had sold.

That he had arranged illegal sales through phony front companies in a dozen or more countries was undeniable. Computers seized by Swedish authorities in 1983 had been sold to fronts in South Africa and then shipped to West Germany before they were intercepted in Sweden on their illicit way to the Soviet Union.  Mueller's activities did grave harm to the security of the United States and its allies by increasing the technical sophistication of Soviet weapons, which, as a result, are increasingly costly for the West to counter. The microprocessors the Soviets now produce on production lines supplied by Mueller can be found in Soviet cruise missiles, advanced munitions and antisubmarine equipment. The Soviet Union's ability to develop reliable military command-and-control networks owes much to Mueller's highly profitable activities.

A fugitive since he was first indicted in 1979, Mueller started selling embargoed technology when Leonid Brezhnev ruled the Soviet Union. When he finally was brought to trial, a member of the Bundestag, the West German parliament, and a founding member of the Greens Party defended him. There wasn't, a murmur of criticism in or out of the Bundestag. The German press, too, was silent.

One might have expected that, as he faced the panel of judges and waited to hear his sentence, Mueller would have been grim, nervous, apprehensive.

But he was smiling. Under German law, the illegal sale of military equipment to the Soviets is almost always a misdemeanor. Though his crimes took place over many years and involved dozens of transactions, they were lumped together by the prosecutor into a single "first offense." Because it was a "first offense" and only a misdemeanor, the German government prosecutor did not request imprisonment. He didn't, even ask for a fine equal to Mueller's vast spoils. Instead, he asked for a suspended sentence and a fine of $750,000, insignificant to a multimillionaire who maintains a vast estate near Hamburg and has extensive landholdings in South Africa. Mueller walked out of the courtroom a free man.

The casual, almost cavalier, attitude of the German government toward Mueller undoubtedly reflects the fact that it is the United States, not Germany, that pays to maintain the West's defenses. With only 3 percent of its gross national product going to defense - half the US level - Germany has been content to let me the US defend Europe while it winks at its citizens who grow rich strengthening the Warsaw Pact and other potential adversaries. In fact, German law encourages officials to be unduly cautious in pursuing those suspected of illegally exporting sensitive technology. If a German official interferes with a shipment on the basis of intelligence information that subsequently proves to be wrong, he can be held personally liable for damages.

And a Wall Street Journal report from February 1984


Cutting from a Rio bar's promotional flyer. It features - good looking guy on the left - ONI's head of North Sea Navigation in Oslo, along with the Kristiansund and Haugesund offices/workshops - Odmund Fargenes. How come? one wonders. Well, maybe he was their best customer (although he is reported as being "not much of a drinker"), so possibly he was the best looking guy in the place at the time, or perhaps he owned it!

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