BRISTOW GROUP INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
NOTES TO CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS — (Continued)
A loss contingency is reasonably possible if the contingency has a more than remote but less than probable chance of occurring. Although management believes that there is no clear requirement to pay amounts at this time and that positions exist suggesting that no further amounts are currently due, it is reasonably possible that a loss could occur for which we have estimated a maximum loss at June 30, 2017 to be approximately $4 million to $6 million.
We are a defendant in certain claims and litigation arising out of operations in the normal course of business. In the opinion of management, uninsured losses, if any, will not be material to our financial position, results of operations or cash flows.
Note 6 — TAXES
In accordance with GAAP, we estimate the full-year effective tax rate from continuing operations and apply this rate to our year-to-date income from continuing operations. In addition, we separately calculate the tax impact of unusual or infrequent items, if any. The tax impacts of such unusual or infrequent items are treated discretely in the quarter in which they occur. Our effective tax rate was (31.9)% and 5.2% during the three months ended June 30, 2017 and 2016, respectively. The effective tax rate for the three months ended June 30, 2017 and 2016 were both impacted by valuation allowances against future realization of foreign tax credits. Additionally, we continue to value against net operating losses in certain foreign jurisdictions.
The relationship between our provision for or benefit from income taxes and our pre-tax book income can vary significantly from period to period considering, among other factors, (a) the overall level of pre-tax book income, (b) changes in the blend of income that is taxed based on gross revenues or at high effective tax rates versus pre-tax book income or at low effective tax rates and (c) our geographical blend of pre-tax book income. Consequently, our income tax expense does not change proportionally with our pre-tax book income. Significant decreases in our pre-tax book income typically result in higher effective tax rates, while significant increases in pre-tax book income can lead to lower effective tax rates, subject to the other factors impacting income tax expense noted above. The increase in our effective tax rate excluding discrete items for the three months ended June 30, 2017 compared to the three months ended June 30, 2016 primarily related to an increase in the blend of earnings taxed in relatively high taxed jurisdictions versus low taxed jurisdictions. Additionally, we increased our valuation allowance by $11.2 million and $13.2 million during the three months ended June 30, 2017 and 2016, respectively, which also increased our effective tax rate.
As of June 30, 2017, there were $1.3 million of unrecognized tax benefits, all of which would have an impact on our effective tax rate if recognized.
Note 7 — EMPLOYEE BENEFIT PLANS
The following table provides a detail of the components of net periodic pension cost (in thousands):
Three Months Ended
Service cost for benefits earned during the period
Interest cost on pension benefit obligation
Expected return on assets
Amortization of unrecognized losses
Net periodic pension cost
The current estimates of our cash contributions required for fiscal year 2018 for our pension plans to be paid in fiscal year 2018 are $15.3 million, of which $4.0 million was paid during the three months ended June 30, 2017. The weighted-average expected long-term rate of return on assets for our U.K. pension plans as of March 31, 2017 was 4.4%.
Stock-based awards are currently made under the Bristow Group Inc. 2007 Long-Term Incentive Plan (the “2007 Plan”). A maximum of 10,646,729 shares of common stock, par value $0.01 per share (“Common Stock”), are reserved. Awards granted under the 2007 Plan may be in the form of stock options, stock appreciation rights, shares of restricted stock, other stock-based awards (payable in cash or Common Stock) or performance awards, or any combination thereof, and may be made to outside directors, employees or consultants. As of June 30, 2017, 2,409,092 shares remained available for grant under the 2007 Plan.
We have a number of other incentive and stock option plans which are described in Note 9 to our fiscal year 2017 Financial Statements.