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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
______________________
FORM 10-K
______________________
(Mark One)
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023
OR
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from                      to                     
Commission file number: 001-41603
______________________
BRIDGER AEROSPACE GROUP HOLDINGS, INC.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
______________________
Delaware88-3599336
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
90 Aviation Lane
Belgrade, MT
59714
(Address of principal executive offices)(Zip Code)
(406813-0079
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
______________________
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
Trading
Symbols
Name of each exchange
on which registered
Common Stock, $0.0001 par value per shareBAERThe Nasdaq Stock Market LLC
Warrants, each whole warrant exercisable for one share of Common Stock at an exercise price of $11.50 per shareBAERWThe Nasdaq Stock Market LLC
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
______________________
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes      No  
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act.    Yes      No  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes      No  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).    Yes      No  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. (See definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).
Large accelerated filerAccelerated filer
Non-accelerated filer
Smaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.  
If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements.  
Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b).  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).    Yes      No  
The aggregate market value of Common Stock held by non-affiliates on June 30, 2023, was approximately $38.3 million.
As of March 15, 2024, there were 44,842,587 shares of Common Stock, $0.0001 par value, issued and outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the registrant’s definitive proxy statement for the 2024 Annual Meeting of Stockholder, to be filed no later than 120 days after the end of the fiscal year to which this Annual Report on Form 10-K relates, are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.


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CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Statements that are not historical facts, including statements about the beliefs and expectations of Bridger Aerospace Group Holdings, Inc. (the “Company,” “Bridger,” “we” or “us”), are forward-looking statements, including for purposes of the safe harbor provisions under the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements generally are accompanied by words such as “believe,” “may,” “will,” “estimate,” “continue,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “expect,” “should,” “would,” “plan,” “project,” “forecast,” “predict,” “poised,” “positioned,” “potential,” “seem,” “seek,” “future,” “outlook,” “target,” and similar expressions that predict or indicate future events or trends or that are not statements of historical matters, but the absence of these words does not mean that a statement is not forward-looking. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, (1) anticipated expansion of Bridger’s operations and increased deployment of Bridger’s aircraft fleet, including references to Bridger’s acquisition of and/or right to use the four Super Scoopers from the Spanish government, including the expected closing timings thereof, the anticipated benefits therefrom, and the ultimate structure of such acquisitions and/or right to use arrangements; (2) Bridger’s business and growth plans and future financial performance; (3) current and future demand for aerial firefighting services, including the duration or severity of any domestic or international wildfire seasons; (4) the magnitude, timing, and benefits from any cost reduction actions; (5) Bridger’s exploration of, need for, or completion of any future financings; and (6) anticipated investments in additional aircraft, capital resources, and research and development and the effect of these investments. These statements are based on various assumptions and estimates, whether or not identified in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, and on the current expectations of Bridger’s management and are not predictions of actual performance. These forward-looking statements are provided for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to serve as, and must not be relied on by any investor as, a guarantee, an assurance, a prediction or a definitive statement of fact or probability. Actual events and circumstances are difficult or impossible to predict and will differ from assumptions. Many actual events and circumstances are beyond the control of Bridger. These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including: Bridger’s ability to identify and effectively implement any current or future anticipated cost reductions, including any resulting impacts to Bridger’s business and operations therefrom; the duration or severity of any domestic or international wildfire seasons; changes in domestic and foreign business, market, financial, political and legal conditions; Bridger’s failure to realize the anticipated benefits of any acquisitions; Bridger’s successful integration of any aircraft (including achievement of synergies and cost reductions); Bridger’s ability to successfully and timely develop, sell and expand its services, and otherwise implement its growth strategy; risks relating to Bridger’s operations and business, including information technology and cybersecurity risks, loss of requisite licenses, flight safety risks, loss of key customers and deterioration in relationships between Bridger and its employees; risks related to increased competition; risks relating to potential disruption of current plans, operations and infrastructure of Bridger, including as a result of the consummation of any acquisition; risks that Bridger is unable to secure or protect its intellectual property; risks that Bridger experiences difficulties managing its growth and expanding operations; Bridger’s ability to compete with existing or new companies that could cause downward pressure on prices, fewer customer orders, reduced margins, the inability to take advantage of new business opportunities, and the loss of market share; the ability to successfully select, execute or integrate future acquisitions into Bridger’s business, which could result in material adverse effects to operations and financial conditions; and those factors discussed in the section of this Annual Report on Form 10-K entitled “Risk Factors” contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. If any of these risks materialize or Bridger management’s assumptions prove incorrect, actual results could differ materially from the results implied by these forward-looking statements. The risks and uncertainties above are not exhaustive, and there may be additional risks that Bridger presently does not know or that Bridger currently believes are immaterial that could also cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements. In addition, forward-looking statements reflect Bridger’s expectations, plans or forecasts of future events and views as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Bridger anticipates that subsequent events and developments will cause Bridger’s assessments to change. However, while Bridger may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, Bridger specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing Bridger’s assessments as of any date subsequent to the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Accordingly, undue reliance should not be placed upon the forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
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PART I
ITEM 1. BUSINESS.
Business Overview
Bridger provides aerial wildfire surveillance, relief and suppression and aerial firefighting services using next-generation technology and environmentally friendly and sustainable firefighting methods primarily throughout the United States. Our mission is to save lives, property and habitats threatened by wildfires, leveraging our high-quality team, specialized aircraft and innovative use of technology and data. We are meeting an underserved and growing need for next-generation full-service aerial firefighting platforms.
Bridger was founded by our Chief Executive Officer and former Navy SEAL officer Timothy Sheehy, in Bozeman, Montana in 2014 with one aircraft and a vision to build a global enterprise to fight wildfires. Bridger has since grown into a full-spectrum aerial firefighting service provider in the U.S. and in the field of aerial wildfire management, offering technology and services to provide front-line firefighters and fire suppression decision-makers access to key fire data in order to effectively combat wildfires.
On January 24, 2023, Bridger completed a reverse recapitalization (the “Reverse Recapitalization”) with Jack Creek Investment Corp (“JCIC”). As a result of the Reverse Recapitalization, Bridger and its subsidiaries prior to the consummation of the Reverse Recapitalization (“Legacy Bridger”) and JCIC each became wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Company.
As of December 31, 2023, the Company has a team of 148 employees and has developed an ecosystem of solutions, services and technologies supporting firefighting ground crews and the public.
The areas in which human development meets or intermingles with undeveloped wildland and vegetative fuels that are both fire-dependent and fire-prone (“wildland-urban interface” or “WUI”) have grown by more than 179,000 square kilometers in the U.S. from 1990 to 2020, according to a 2023 article by the United States Forest Service (the “USFS” and the “USFS WUI Increase Article”). WUI areas, which comprise 9.4% of the U.S. land area, now include nearly one-third of all residences, according to the USFS WUI Increase Article. At the same time, the annual acres burned per fire between 1985 and 2022 have increased by more than three-fold according to data published by the National Interagency Fire Center (the “NIFC”). As the WUI areas continue to grow and wildfires grow larger, more aggressive firefighting strategies are necessary to ensure public safety. Additionally, data published by the NIFC shows that the total number of U.S. acres burned annually has increased by more than two-fold from 1985 to 2022.
These trends have led to a response by the U.S. federal government to increase spending on fire suppression since 1985 with a compound annual growth rate of 7.6% to $3.5 billion in 2022, according to the NIFC Suppression Costs Data. Even with this increased spending and demand, unfulfilled requests for fixed wing aircraft for aerial firefighting grew at a compound annual growth rate of 4.7% between 2002 and 2022, with 654 unfulfilled requests in 2022, according to National Interagency Coordination Center (“NICC”).
Bridger’s management estimates that aerial suppression spend represented approximately 42.7% of an estimated $21.9 billion firefighting market (defined as the sum of air-based suppression, ground, and fire data, aerial imagery-related, and emergency mobile application markets) globally in 2021. There is a rapidly growing global need for fire suppression assets, and Bridger’s management believes that a shift away from ground services to air-based suppression has already commenced. The market is anticipated to continue to expand as wildfires rage across Europe and the U.S.
Business Description
Our portfolio is organized across two core offerings:
Fire Suppression: Consists of deploying specialized Viking CL-415EAF (“Super Scooper”) aircraft to drop large amounts of water quickly and directly on wildfires.
Aerial Surveillance: Consists of providing aerial surveillance via manned (“Air Attack”) aircraft for fire suppression aircraft over an incident and providing tactical coordination with the incident commander.
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Fire Suppression
We provide direct fire suppression aerial firefighting support for ground crews by operating the Super Scoopers. Aerial fire suppression is provided in conjunction with traditional ground firefighting approaches, and specialized aircraft drop high volumes of water directly onto active wildfires. Because wildfires largely occur within close proximity to a major water source, leveraging readily available resources is more time- and fuel-efficient in combating wildfires when time is of the essence. The Super Scoopers allow for rapid delivery of water strikes to extinguish wildfires, particularly when deployed in tandem or larger groups to allow for continuous water delivery as aircraft return to the water source.
Aerial Surveillance
Wildfires can spread quickly and change course in an instant. Our aerial surveillance services provide decision-makers rapid, current intelligence from useful aerial vantage points, giving them access to key information to support more effective deployment of ground firefighters and improved safety for the public at large. Our aerial surveillance services leverage Air Attack aircraft.
Our Air Attack fleet comprises twelve aircraft, including four Twin Commanders (“Twin Commanders”), four Daher Kodiak 100s (“Daher Kodiaks”), three Pilatus PC-12 (“Pilatus”) and one DeHaviland Twin Otter (“Twin Otter”). We have seven years of experience in providing USFS Type 1 Air Tactical Group Supervisors (“ATGS”), and the aerial platform to relay the necessary information, to ground-based Interagency Incident Commanders (“Incident Commanders”), who are responsible for the overall management of the wildfire and determine how resources are deployed. We are one of the largest ATGS platform providers in the U.S. and have contracts covering 100% of the U.S.
Our Aircraft
We deploy modern technology to track and attack wildfires and have an expansive fleet of specialized firefighting aircraft stationed in three hangars at the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport in Belgrade, Montana. Our aircraft form the basis of our service offerings and, as such, we strive to continually invest in advancements in aerial firefighting platforms. We continually invest in our fleet to expand our capabilities while assessing opportunities to acquire next-generation firefighting assets to combat the rising threat of wildfires.
We currently operate an aircraft fleet of 18 planes, comprised of the following:
Six Super Scoopers
Four Twin Commanders
Four Daher Kodiaks
Three Pilatus (one owned and two leased)
One Twin Otter (leased)
Super Scooper Fleet
The Super Scooper is the only aircraft designed and built to fight fires and can fly more aggressively in extreme terrains than all other aircraft with equal or greater water capacity. The Super Scooper is an amphibious aircraft that skims the surface of a body of water to scoop water into onboard tanks to drop on a fire. The specific design of the Super Scooper allows for an aggressive low-altitude flight profile, which enables pilots to deliver their drops with more precision, hitting the fire harder and extinguishing it faster. Super Scoopers can scoop up to 1,412 gallons of water in approximately 12 seconds, and with 90% of wildfires within 20 miles of a major water source (see graph below), Super Scoopers provide an extremely effective tool to economically and expeditiously deliver water to a fire without having to return to an airport to refill the water tanks. With a water source within a five-mile radius, the Super Scooper can drop on its target up to every seven minutes for a total of approximately 35 drops, or 50,000 gallons of water, before needing to refuel. As a result of our operations of these Super Scooper assets, in conjunction with our Air Attack fleet, we believe that we are one of the most full-spectrum aerial fire service providers in North America.
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Source: 2012 Air Attack Against Wildfire Study by the Rand Homeland Security and Defense Center.
The Super Scooper aircraft has an impeccable safety record, direct support from the original equipment manufacturer (the “OEM”), short take-off and landing capabilities (“STOL”) and a multi-crew flight deck. The Super Scooper has a cruising speed of 207 miles per hour. Additionally, the Super Scooper is a highly efficient aircraft when fighting wildland fires and has the ability to drop a higher volume of liquid than retardant-dropping fixed-wing aircraft over the same amount of time due to its ability to gather water from nearby bodies of water.
Our Super Scoopers have an immaculate safety record, as we have never been assessed with any safety violations and/or citations, nor have any of our aircraft ever been involved in any crashes or serious injuries. We have also adopted a safety management system (“SMS”) designed to reduce the likelihood of safety-related issues arising in the course of our overall operations. The SMS program has been audited by both the Federal Aviation Administration (the “FAA”) and the USFS.
Furthermore, the Super Scooper has the ability to operate from smaller airports with runways as short as 2,500 feet in length while larger jet-powered aerial firefighting aircraft often need a runway of at least 4,000 feet in length. The Super Scooper is capable of scooping water in 12 seconds from bodies of water of 4,900 feet or more in length and can empty the water load in 3 seconds in one drop or split the drop into two. The Super Scooper’s water tank capacity is shown in the table below:
VolumeWeight
LitersImp GalU.S. GalKgLbs
Each tank
2,6735887062,7226,000
Total both tanks
5,3461,1761,4125,44312,000
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A summary graphic of the Super Scooper and its efficiency in collecting water is provided below.
Image_12.jpg
Source: United States Department of Agriculture Amphibious Water Scooper Aircraft Operations Plan 2016.
Air Attack Fleet
Our Air Attack fleet provides high level situational awareness of fire growth, ground firefighting elements, other aircraft within the fire traffic area, and changing weather conditions to Incident Commanders. Each aircraft is outfitted with a broad suite of communication technologies. The Daher Kodiaks and Pilatus, the newest additions to our Air Attack fleet, are particularly renowned for their rugged build and versatility in landing on challenging terrain which is an asset given the inconsistent and harsh flying conditions that challenge aerial firefighting. Our Air Attack fleet is suitable for STOL, allowing for deployment in a greater range of scenarios. A high level of reliability allows the aircraft to be serviced and available for contract for more days, with fewer unscheduled in-field maintenance events. Above active wildfires, the aircraft can maintain the fuel efficiency required to loiter for four to seven hours with slow and stable flight characteristics, offering the ATGS greater visibility.
Key Market Drivers and Opportunities
There are several key market drivers and opportunities for our business, including:
Longer and more severe fire seasons drive demand for fire suppression and aerial surveillance services
NIFC Suppression Costs Data supports that the acreage burned in the U.S. has increased over time. While there is variability in the acreage burned in any given year, the annual average of 7.1 million acres burned from 2000 to 2022 has more than doubled the annual average acreage burned from 1985 to 1999 of 3.2 million.
While the North American wildfire off-season is typically between October and May, fires are starting earlier in the spring and lasting deeper into the fall according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (the “EPA”). The U.S. fire season is also lengthening on a consistent basis – according to Climate Central, the U.S. fire season is on average 105 days longer than it was in 1970. Climate Central also reported that the average number of large fires (greater than 1,000 acres) burning each year had tripled between the period of the 1970s to the 2010s, and the acres burned by such fires showed a six-fold increase in the 2010s compared to the 1970s. Climate Central attributes the lengthening wildfire season to factors including warmer springs, longer summer dry seasons and drier soils and vegetation, with climate change threatening to increase the extent and severity of these fires. The United States national fire preparedness level has increased over time. The five preparedness levels range from the lowest (1) to the highest (5); and are dictated by fuel and weather conditions, fire activity and fire suppression resource availability throughout the country. Level 5 represents that several geographic areas are experiencing large, complex wildfire incidents, which have the potential to exhaust national wildland firefighting resources, while Level 1 represents that there is very minimal fire activity. According to data provided by the NIFC, the average U.S. fire preparedness level during the main wildfire season (June through September) has increased over time by almost half of a level: during the past five years (2019 – 2023) the average U.S. fire preparedness level was 3.09, while the average U.S. fire preparedness level since 1990 was 2.80.
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Federal and state funding for wildfire control
National funding for wildfire management is appropriated by the U.S. Congress (“Congress”) and each state pays for wildland firefighting slightly differently. While fire suppression activities on wildlands in the U.S. are financed through federal funds, budget-making processes may restrict the amount allocated. According to the NIFC Suppression Costs Data, the average annual federal government fire suppression spending was $3.0 billion for the five-year period from 2018 to 2022, an increase of 45%, compared to $2.1 billion of average annual spending for the previous five-year period from 2013 to 2017. The funding is allocated to the Department of the Interior (the “DOI”) and the USFS. Our company then enters into short, medium and long-term contracts with federal agencies during the firefighting season. On the state level, we are generally seeing significant increases in several state governments and private entities who are preparing themselves for the new fire reality. For example, in July 2023, the federal government announced the allocation of $185.0 million to support wildland fire management nationwide in 2023 and to assist land managers in planning for wildfire management activities in fiscal year 2024. This investment builds on $278.0 million, announced in March 2023 and December 2022, already allocated in 2023. In 2021, Washington State invested $328.0 million over the five following years to fight wildfires. While this level of commitment is unique, it is reflective of the increased awareness across many levels of government and private entities that wildfire risk has entered a new era of severity.
Given our long-standing customer relationships with governmental bodies, we have an opportunity to fulfill this increased demand for firefighting services driven by longer and more severe fire seasons. We view the increased demand as a means to further government agency ties and to capitalize on new aircraft investments.
Increased demand and limited supply of purpose-built suppression aircraft
According to the reports published by the NICC, demand for Type 3 multi-engine airtankers, which includes our Super Scooper aircraft, increased by over 56% for the two-year period of 2021 and 2022 compared to the prior two-year period of 2019 and 2020. The Wildland Fire Reports showed that the increase in demand led to a higher percentage of unfulfilled requests, and in 2022, 34.9% of Type 3 multi-engine airtankers requests were unfulfilled compared to 8.9% in 2020.
Super Scoopers are multi-engine airtankers built specifically for aerial firefighting. They are highly effective at fighting fires and have historically been owned and operated by foreign governments throughout Europe (there are approximately 40 amphibious scooping aircraft owned by France, Greece, Italy and Spain) and as a result, used amphibious scooping aircraft are difficult to locate and obtain in the United States. We are an original customer for Longview Aviation Services Inc.’s (“LAS”) launch of their Super Scooper CL-415EAF (Enhanced Aerial Firefighter) Program. LAS has only manufactured a limited number of Super Scoopers available for sale between 2020 and 2025, and pursuant to our purchase agreement with LAS and Viking, dated April 13, 2018 (as amended and supplemented from time to time, the “LAS Purchase Agreement”), which has been amended numerous times to add additional planes and upgrades, we agreed to purchase six of the limited number of Super Scoopers. On February 17, 2023, we received our sixth Super Scooper, which allows greater deployment of the Bridger aircraft fleet across the U.S. As we are a long-standing customer of LAS, and as LAS develops their next generation of aerial firefighting solutions, our continuous feedback informs advancements in firefighting technology.

On November 17, 2023, the Company entered into a series of agreements with MAB Funding, LLC (“MAB”) and its subsidiary designed to facilitate the purchase and return to service of four Canadair CL-215T Amphibious Aircraft (the “Spanish Scoopers”) originally awarded to the Company in September 2023 via a public tender process from the Government of Spain for €40.3 million. The terms of the agreements provide that the Company will manage the return to service upgrades of the Spanish Scoopers while they are owned and funded by MAB. The Company has the right, but not the obligation, to acquire each plane as it is ready to be contracted and returned to service. The Company plans to acquire the Spanish Scoopers in a sequential manner as they are modified and subsequently contracted for service.

Given the limited supply of purpose-built multi-engine airtankers, upkeep and maintenance of existing aircraft is vital to minimize lapses in firefighting services occurring during wildfire season and to reduce the impact of any disruptions that occur. The Super Scooper is the only aerial fire suppression aircraft with factory OEM support which aids in reducing downtime.
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Our Competitive Strengths
Full spectrum of aerial firefighting services
We provide full-spectrum aerial firefighting services, offering both fire suppression and aerial surveillance services in the U.S. and internationally. We emphasize continued investment in new aerial surveillance and aerial fire suppression aircraft. Our aerial surveillance fleet has evolved since our inception from a single aircraft and pilot to the fleet operated today. The diversity of our service offerings affords customers the opportunity to select the appropriate services for their specific needs.
Purpose-built aircraft that can drop higher volumes of water
Our six Super Scooper aircraft are the latest model in the LAS production line and feature enhanced industry technology. Viking, a subsidiary of LAS, purchased the type certificate and is the OEM for the design of all the CL-215 and CL-415 models from Bombardier Aerospace. LAS then made significant improvements and introduced the Super Scooper, which includes the following improvements over the CL-415:
Higher cruising speed;
Improved air safety;
Latest-generation technological reliability;
New avionics and instrumentation;
More accurate water discharge technology;
Suitability for mountainous terrain;
STOL on asphalt, gravel and water;
Lower speed during water-bombing (low and slow flight);
Improved operational efficiency; and
Structural integrity.
The Super Scooper leverages modern turbine engines to deliver superior high-altitude performance. The Super Scooper is able to reload in under a minute, compared to a reload time of approximately 30 minutes to one hour, depending on base capabilities, for other air tankers enabling the Super Scooper to make more drops in the same amount of time. The Super Scooper can drop approximately 50,000 gallons before requiring refueling, while the largest tanker in the market can only drop 30,000 gallons of retardant before needing to refuel and reload retardant. The Super Scooper aircraft allow for rapid delivery of water strikes to extinguish wildfires, particularly when deployed in tandem or larger groups to allow for continuous water-delivery as aircraft return to the water source.
Highly-skilled crew of pilots and maintenance personnel
As of December 31, 2023, we have 15 captains on staff as part of the Super Scooper flight crew. Each captain has thousands of hours of flight time in the Super Scooper conducting firefighting operations. All flight crew have a minimum of four years of aerial firefighting experience. Recurrent training for all flight crew is required in a Level D full motion flight simulator.
Each of our pilots attends annual and recurrent training specific to the aircraft they operate and to meet our standards of safety and standard operating procedures. Each pilot that flies an aircraft on contract for a government agency receives a certification card on an annual basis that validates they are qualified by the government to safely operate the aircraft while on contract.
As of December 31, 2023, we have 10 crew chiefs on staff as part of the Super Scooper maintenance crew. Each crew chief has thousands of hours maintaining aircraft in the Viking family and are familiar with firefighting operations. Factory training is mandatory for all of the maintenance team specific to the aircraft and components they maintain. They are also required to complete company-specific training courses regarding safety, standard operating procedures and systems in which they track and sign-off on maintenance logs.
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Long-standing client relationships
We have provided aerial firefighting services since 2015 to government agencies, including the USFS, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (“Cal Fire”) and multiple other state governments. We have been praised as an industry leader, specifically by the USFS, with regards to the SMS program and have been recommended by the USFS as a model for safe aircraft operations. Currently, we maintain active contracts with multiple federal agencies and the state governments of many high wildfire risk states. Historically, we have experienced a 100% renewal rate on our federal and state contracts. We bid upon and were awarded a USFS multi-year contract beginning with the 2021 fire season through the beginning of the 2025 fire season for the use of our Super Scooper planes.
Our relationship with the USFS involves three material service agreements: Contract No. 1202SA21T9009, dated as of June 3, 2021 (“Call-When-Needed Water Scooper Contract”), Contract No. 12024B19C9025, dated as of May 15, 2019 (“Exclusive Use Light Fixed Wing Contract”) and Contract No. 1202SA21G5100, dated as of February 22, 2021 (“Call-When-Needed Light Fixed Wing Contract”). Under the Call-When-Needed Water Scooper Contract, we provide Super Scooper aircraft services for wildland firefighting on a national basis for a period of four years from June 3, 2021. We generate revenue under the Call-When-Needed Water Scooper Contract from task orders placed by the USFS. Under the terms of the Call-When-Needed Water Scooper Contract, the USFS reserves the right to terminate the Call-When-Needed Water Scooper Contract, or any part thereof, for its sole convenience or in the event of any default by us. Under the Exclusive Use Light Fixed Wing Contract, we provide light fixed wing aircraft firefighting services on an exclusive use basis for the Northern, Rocky Mountain, Southwestern, Intermountain and Pacific Southwest regions, as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The original term of the Exclusive Use Light Fixed Wing Contract was for 12 months from May 15, 2019; however, the contract included an option to extend the contract for four additional periods of one year each, and the USFS has exercised its annual option to extend the contract for 12-month periods on each of March 18, 2020, April, 21, 2021, April 18, 2022, and March 14, 2023. We generate revenue under the Exclusive Use Light Fixed Wing Contract by providing guaranteed availability of our services for 120 calendar days per year, with different rates charged for standby hours and flight hours. Under the terms of the Exclusive Use Light Fixed Wing Contract, the USFS reserves the right to terminate the Exclusive Use Light Fixed Wing Contract, or any part thereof, for its sole convenience or in the event of any default by us. Under the Call-When-Needed Light Fixed Wing Contract, we provide light fixed wing aircraft firefighting services, on a call-when-needed basis, for the air tactical group supervision mission on behalf of the Northern Region, as defined by the USFS. The term of the Call-When-Needed Light Fixed Wing Contract is for a period of four years. We generate revenue under the Call-When-Needed Light Fixed Wing Contract by providing our services when called upon by the USFS, if available at time of call, with different rates charged for standby hours and flight hours. Under the terms of the Call-When- Needed Light Fixed Wing Contract, the USFS reserves the right to terminate the Call-When-Needed Light Fixed Wing Contract, or any part thereof, for its sole convenience or in the event of any default by us.
In 2023, the USFS discontinued the future use of multiple discrete contracts and instead consolidated its contracts into a National Multiple Award Task Order Contract (“MATOC”). Under this contract, it can award task orders for exclusive use aircraft instead of awarding multiple contracts. All of our light fixed-wing Air Attack aircraft and the multi-mission Pilatus are available under the MATOC subsequent to the expiration of the Exclusive Use Light Fixed Wing Contract in May 2024 .
Our Growth Strategy
Acquire and deploy additional aircraft to meet increased demand
We are an original customer for LAS’s launch of its Super Scooper CL-415EAF Program. There are approximately 40 amphibious scooping aircraft owned by France, Greece, Italy and Spain and as a result, used amphibious scooping aircraft are difficult to locate and obtain. LAS has only made a limited number available for sale between 2020 and 2025, of which the Company has purchased six.
Expanding our services
Fire Monitoring TechnologyWith roughly 70,000 wildfires occurring each year in the U.S. (according to the NIFC Suppression Costs Data), news feeds are saturated with reports of wildfires that have grown quickly and are out of control. Current consolidated fire data is controlled by wildfire agencies with limited to no access publicly available. On September 14, 2023, we acquired Ignis Technologies (“Ignis”) to develop a pioneering mobile and web platform that elevates firefighter situational awareness, creates an interoperable common operating picture across firefighting units, and produces real time, high value data to help fire organizations better manage wildfire risk.
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Maintenance, Repair, OverhaulWe have an experienced and well-trained crew of maintenance professionals. Maintenance personnel and their maintenance support staff are current on all general aviation standards and requirements and are specifically trained to service our fleet of aircraft. We ensure our maintenance team has all the necessary equipment needed to exceed FAA maintenance standards and maintain USFS and DOI contract aircraft requirements. We are a FAA Certified Part 145 Repair Station offering in-house airframe and avionics repair capabilities for our aerial firefighting fleet. In April 2022, our Part 145 Certified Repair Station was awarded an ISO 9110, certification which is one of the highest standards in a repair organization recognized by the FAA. This certification was completed by the British Standards Institution, recognized as an industry leader in quality management systems.
Domestic and international expansion
We are committed to increasing our market share and service offering domestically and internationally. Given our competitive strengths, we believe we are well-positioned to take advantage of the growth in domestic demand for fire safety and environmental awareness. We currently have contracts in place with the USFS, the DOI, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, Alaska Division of Forestry, Cal Fire, Colorado Department of Public Safety Division of Fire Prevention and Control, Idaho Department of Lands, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Oregon Department of Forestry.
We intend to penetrate certain additional domestic markets through leveraging existing relationships and building local market teams. We have established this historically by maintaining relationships in the field with customers, gathering near real-time feedback to improve operations, as well as holding regular feedback sessions to incorporate points of improvement and planning for subsequent years.
We are exploring the possibility of operating internationally during the North American wildfire off-season, which generally occurs between October and May. We seek to become a global entity that provides aerial firefighting services worldwide. Our goal is to bring the Super Scooper to Europe through the agreement entered into for the Spanish Scoopers in November 2023. Additionally, we plan to bring the Super Scooper to Asia and/or South America in the future and to demonstrate the platform’s effectiveness. Currently, Super Scoopers are either not utilized on wildland fires in these areas or are not operated in a contractor-owned, contractor-operated business model. We plan to fill an underserved need to provide an alternative solution to aging and obsolete government-owned, government-operated fleets.
Pursuing Opportunistic Mergers & Acquisitions (“M&A”)
We intend to continue to evaluate M&A opportunities to expand our fleet, add new geographies or add additional services. Consistent with this strategy, we regularly evaluate potential acquisition opportunities, including ones that would be significant to us. We cannot predict the timing of any contemplated transactions, and none are currently probable.
Seasonality
Our operating results are impacted by seasonality. Climate conditions and other factors that may influence our revenues may vary each quarter and year. Many of these factors are outside of our control, including but not limited to:
forest fires tend to have a higher occurrence during the summer months and during times of drought, but are ultimately unpredictable;
climate change and changes in global temperatures occur over time;
unexpected weather patterns, natural disasters or other events that increase or decrease the rate or intensity of wildfires or impair our ability to perform firefighting services; and
changes in governmental regulations or in the status of our regulatory approvals or applications.
Historically, the demand for our services has been higher in the second and third quarters of each fiscal year due to the timing and duration of the North American wildfire season. Consequently, revenues, expenses, and operating cash flows from our services are generated mostly in the second and third quarters of our fiscal year. However, the seasonal fluctuation in the need to fight wildfires based upon location and the varying intensity of the wildfire season may lead our operating results to fluctuate significantly from quarter to quarter and year to year.
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Our Customers
Our high-performing aircraft, including the Super Scooper, and full-service support platform have allowed us to enter into contracts with U.S. federal, state and local governmental entities and focus on growth while building additional services to map and analyze fire boundaries. Currently, we are engaged in short, medium and long-term contracts with multiple federal agencies such as the USFS and DOI and the state governments of many of the states most endangered by wildfires. Automatically renewing contracts with governmental entities provide stable revenue streams, allowing us to innovate in the aerial firefighting industry and diversify offerings to customers. We bid upon and were awarded a contract with the USFS for use of our Super Scooper aircraft, beginning in 2021 into 2025.
While a majority of our existing contracts are for a one-year base term, we enter into short, medium and long-term contracts with customers, primarily with the aforementioned government agencies during the firefighting season, to deploy aerial fire management assets. Contracts are based on either a Call-When-Needed (“CWN”) or Exclusive Use (“EU”) basis.
Rates established for CWN contracts are generally higher based on a customer's need for urgent or unanticipated deployment of our aerial fire management assets compared to EU contract rates which are generally more competitive based on the security of the revenue from the contract. Historically, we have experienced a 100% renewal rate on our federal and state contracts.
Facilities
Our headquarters are located in Belgrade, Montana, and our aircraft fleet resides at the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport. We own three hangars and lease five existing lots at the airport on 20-year and 10-year ground leases.
Our international operations’ headquarters are located in Albacete, Spain. We currently own one hangar and lease one existing lot on a short-term ground lease at the Albacete Airport, where the return to service upgrades for the four Spanish Scoopers are being performed.
Our Competitors
Our primary competition is a private aerial firefighting operator that currently manages four CL-415s, three Type II Dash 8-400ATs and seven Avro RJ85s, which are designed to drop fire retardant. Additionally, from time-to-time we may compete with aerial firefighting companies that drop water from helicopters. However, our management does not view helicopters as a direct threat to our operations because while many helicopters are only able to pursue two-hour missions due to fuel capacity, our Super Scooper aircraft have four-hour fuel capacity.
Our Super Scooper program is not designed to replace the use of aircraft that drop fire retardant on wildfires. Fire retardant is a substance frequently deployed by large air tankers to slow down or stop the spread of fire and is frequently used to create a perimeter or border around a fire. While it is possible for a fire to burn through a fire line created by fire retardant, fire retardant remains a valuable tool in the fight and management of wildfires, and when combined with the deployment of Super Scoopers dropping water, can be effective in managing, controlling and slowing the spread of wildfires.
We believe our ability to compete successfully as an aerial firefighting service will depend on a number of factors, which may change in the future due to increased competition, including the price of our offerings, consumer confidence in the safety and efficacy of our offerings and consumer satisfaction for the solutions we offer. Additionally, we may compete with other aerial firefighting operators for federal and state budget dollars, and for various governmental service programs that support aerial firefighting programs.
Our Environmental Impact
According to an article on Climate Change Indicators by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, multiple studies have found that “climate change has already led to an increase in wildfire season length, wildfire frequency and burned area”, “climate change threatens to increase the frequency, extent and severity of fires through increased temperatures and drought” and wildfires release a significant amount of carbon emissions each year.
Amid raging wildfires and changing climate, we use sustainable and environmentally friendly firefighting methods. By sourcing water near the fire for our fire suppression services, we minimize harm to the local water system by keeping water in the local ecology and reducing flight time between scoops and drops. Our mission is to save lives, property, and habitats through our world-class team, specialized aircraft, and innovative use of technology and data.
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Human Capital
Our employees are critical to our success. On December 31, 2023, we had 148 employees. We have high selection standards, recruiting individuals with specific technical skills and demonstrated ability to work independently in a wide variety of work environments. Prior to joining our company, many of our employees had prior experience working for a wide variety of reputed research, commercial and military aerospace and non-aerospace organizations. As a company founded by veterans, we seek to employ qualified veterans and draw upon the experiences of their shared military background including their strategic mindset, management skillset and high level of discipline. As of December 31, 2023, approximately one out of seven of our employees is a veteran of the U.S. military.
To date, we have not experienced any work stoppages, and we consider our relationship with our employees to be good. We routinely solicit feedback from our entire employee base and empower individuals by encouraging them to formulate solutions and process improvements no matter the level of role. Accordingly, our voluntary turnover is very low, employee engagement is high, and we have not experienced any interruptions of operations due to labor disagreements. Our employees are not subject to collective bargaining agreements or represented by labor union.
Health and Safety
We are committed to the safety of our employees. We maintain environmental, health and safety policies that seek to promote the operation of our business in a manner that is protective of the health and safety of the public and its employees. Our operations offer several health and welfare programs to employees to promote fitness and wellness and to encourage preventative healthcare. In addition, our employees are offered a confidential employee assistance program that provides professional counseling to employees and their family members. We have a holistic philosophy for our benefits offerings, supporting physical health, mental health, financial health, community support and a wide variety of insurance plans to hedge against uncertain losses (e.g., accident, short term disability, paid leaves, and life insurance).
Employee Trainings
To address the inherently dangerous nature of the job, we adhere to achieving operational excellence and providing our employees with the means to further their development. All of our pilots are given extensive training during the winter months, regardless of tenure or previous experience. The trainings include classroom and online courses, simulators, and in-plane time. We strive to have high industry standards and employ several dedicated pilot and airframe-specific trainers. Routinely, we fund enhanced workforce training in specific technical fields related to those employees’ desires. In one instance, we have had an employee who was hired as a facility cleaner. With further training and investment, the employee became a ground vehicle support manager and is now an aircraft mechanic. We also hire entry level mechanics and train them to obtain their airframe and powerplant certification, which allows them to perform maintenance on any aircraft unsupervised.
In addition to technical training, we invest heavily in leadership and management training as well as some of the most advanced safety training available in our industry. The State of Montana Job Grant program has been a tremendous help to us through our early years by providing state funded training to employees attending schooling to better their position as employees within the State of Montana. Before hiring externally as needs are identified, a careful analysis is done of our current staff to determine if the aptitude and interest is already in our employee base. By prioritizing training and promoting current employees, we enhance employee engagement and cut costs simultaneously.
Employee Retention and Opportunity
We believe that attraction and retention of top talent from a variety of backgrounds is important and we employ policies and procedures to recruit diverse talent as well as policies to ensure pay equality. We have an Equal Employment Opportunity Policy whereby we commit to providing equal employment opportunity, promotion, services, or activities which operates for all qualified employees and applicants without regard to race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, parental status, citizenship status, religion, national origin, disability, veteran status, age, marital status, pregnancy, genetic information or other legally protected status. We drive a culture that understands and respects differences. We rely heavily on recruiting internationally to work on our purpose-built aerial firefighting aircraft and identify the cultural benefits that these individuals bring to our company.
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Governmental Regulation
Federal Aviation Administration
The regulations, policies and guidance issued by the FAA apply to the use and operation of our aircraft. Operators of aircraft are required to have proper licenses, permits and authorizations from the FAA and comply with the FAA’s insurance requirements for third-party liability and government property. While our aircraft are currently registered with the FAA, in the event of a change in ownership, the FAA license will be updated with current information. In that instance, once any such new vehicle registration applications are filed, the applications will serve as registrations until the FAA issues the new vehicle registrations, which will allow operations to continue during that period.
Failure to comply with the FAA’s aviation or space transportation regulations may result in civil penalties or private lawsuits, or the suspension or revocation of licenses or permits, which would prevent operating our aircraft.
In addition to the FAA, our industry is regulated by multiple federal agencies who, in some cases, act as both customer and regulator. We are proud to have a stellar record of performance both in flight and on the ground with respect to all of our regulatory bodies.
ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS.
Summary of Risk Factors
Below is a summary of the principal factors that could adversely affect our business, operations and financial results. This summary does not address all of the risks that we face. Additional discussion of the risks summarized in this summary, and other risks that we face (including general risk factors), can be found below following this summary.
Aviation and Firefighting Risks
Our operation of aircraft involves a degree of inherent risk, and we could suffer losses and adverse publicity stemming from any accident, whether related to us or not, involving aircraft, helicopters, or commercial drones similar to the assets we use in our operations.
Our business is inherently risky in that it is fighting wildfires which are powerful and unpredictable.
The unavailability of an aircraft due to loss, mechanical failure, lack of pilots or maintenance personnel, especially one of the Viking Air CL-415EAFs, would result in lower operating revenues for us for a period of time that cannot be determined and would likely be prolonged.
Our pilots and mechanics are required by contract to meet a minimum standard of operational experience. Finding and employing individuals with the necessary level of experience and certification has required us to hire Canadian personnel in addition to U.S. personnel. Inability to source and hire personnel with appropriate skills and experience would inhibit operations.
The development of superior alternative firefighting tactics or technology that do not rely on our existing and planned capital assets could reduce demand for our services and result in a material reduction in our revenue and results of operations.
Operations Risks
A cyber-based attack of our IT systems could disrupt our ability to deliver services to our customers and could lead to increased overhead costs, decreased sales, and harm to our reputation.
Any failure to offer high-quality aerial firefighting services to customers may harm our relationships with our customers and could adversely affect our reputation, brand, business, financial condition and results of operations.
We are subject to risks associated with climate change, including the potential increased impacts of severe weather events on our operations and infrastructure, and changes in weather patterns may result in lower demand for our services if such changes result in a reduced risk of wildfires.
We are highly dependent on our senior management team and other highly skilled personnel with unique skills.
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Seasonality Risks
There is a seasonal fluctuation in the need to fight forest fires based upon location and a substantial majority of our revenue is currently concentrated in the Western United States. As a result, our operating results may fluctuate significantly from quarter to quarter and from year to year.
Sales and Customer Risks
The aerial firefighting industry is expected to grow in the near future and is volatile, and if it does not develop, if it develops slower than we expect, if it develops in a manner that does not require use of our services, if it encounters negative publicity or if our solution does not drive commercial or governmental engagement, the growth of our business will be harmed.
We depend significantly on government customers, which subjects us to risks including early termination, audits, investigations, sanctions and penalties. We are also subject to regulations applicable to government contractors which increase our operating costs and if we fail to comply, could result in the termination of our contracts with government entities.
We may be unable to manage our future growth effectively, which could make it difficult to execute our business strategy.
We rely on a few large customers for a majority of our business, and the loss of any of these customers, significant changes in the prices, marketing allowances or other important terms provided to any of these customers or adverse developments with respect to the financial condition of these customers could materially reduce our net income and operating results.
Supplier Risks
We rely on a limited number of suppliers for certain raw materials and supplied components. We may not be able to obtain sufficient raw materials or supplied components to meet our maintenance or operating needs or obtain such materials on favorable terms or at all, which could impair our ability to provide our services in a timely manner or increase our costs of services and maintenance.
There is a limited supply of new CL-415EAF aircraft to purchase, and an inability to purchase additional CL-415EAF aircraft could impede our ability to increase our revenue and net income.
We currently rely and will continue to rely on third-party partners to provide and store the parts and components required to service and maintain our aircraft, and to supply critical components and systems, which exposes us to a number of risks and uncertainties outside our control.
Financial and Capital Strategy Risks
We may require substantial additional funding to finance our operations and growth strategy, but adequate additional financing may not be available when we need it, on acceptable terms, or at all, and our ability to pursue equity financings may depend in part, on the market price of our shares of common stock, $0.0001 par value per share (“Common Stock”).
Our systems, aircraft, technologies and services and related equipment may have shorter useful lives than we anticipate.
We have a substantial amount of debt and servicing future interest or principal payments may impair our ability to operate our business or require us to change our business strategy to accommodate the repayment of our debt.
Early-Stage Company Risks
Our liquidity position raises substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern.
We have incurred significant losses since inception, and we may not be able to achieve, maintain or increase profitability or positive cash flow.
The requirements of being a public company may strain our resources, divert our management’s attention and affect our ability to attract and retain additional executive management and qualified board members.
We have identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, which we are in the process of, and are focused on, remediating.
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Risks Related to the Ownership of Our Securities
The price of our Common Stock and Warrants are likely to be highly volatile.
Our Common Stock is subject to restrictions on ownership by non-U.S. citizens, which could require divestiture by non-U.S. citizen stockholders and could have a negative impact on the transferability of our Common Stock, its liquidity and market value, and such restrictions may deter a potential change of control transaction.
We may issue additional shares of our Common Stock or other equity securities, which would dilute your ownership interest in us and may depress the market price of our Common Stock.
There can be no assurance that we will be able to comply with the continued listing standards of Nasdaq.
The holders of shares of Series A Preferred Stock have rights, preferences and privileges that are not held by, and are preferential to, the rights of holders of our Common Stock.
A small number of Bridger’s stockholders could significantly influence its business.
Future sales, or the perception of future sales, of a substantial number of shares of our Common Stock and Warrants, by us or our stockholders in the public market may cause the price of our Common Stock and Warrants to decline.
Warrants are exercisable for our Common Stock and if exercised will increase the number of shares eligible for future resale in the public market and result in dilution to our stockholders.
The following risk factors and other information included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K should be carefully considered. The risks and uncertainties described below are not the only ones we face. Additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to us or that we currently deem less significant may also affect our business operations or financial results. If any of the following risks actually occur, our stock price, business, operating results and financial condition could be materially adversely affected and the market price of our securities could decline, causing our equityholders to lose all or a portion of their investment.
Aviation and Firefighting Risks
Our operation of aircraft involves a degree of inherent risk, and we could suffer losses and adverse publicity stemming from any accident, whether related to us or not, involving aircraft, helicopters, or commercial drones similar to the assets we use in our operations.
The operation of aircraft is subject to various risks, and demand for firefighting services, may in the future be impacted by accidents or other safety issues regardless of whether such accidents or issues involve Bridger flights, our aircraft operators, or aircraft flown by our aircraft operators. Air transportation hazards, such as adverse weather conditions and fire and mechanical failures, may result in death or injury to personnel and passengers which could impact client confidence in a particular aircraft type. Safety statistics for air travel are reported by multiple parties, including the Department of Transportation (the “DOT”) and National Transportation Safety Board, and are often separated into categories of transportation. Because our aerial firefighting services include a variety of aircraft, our clients may have a hard time determining how safe aerial firefighting services are, and their confidence in aerial firefighting may be impacted by, among other things, the classification of accidents in ways that reflect poorly on aerial firefighting services or the methods that aerial firefighting services utilize.
As the owners and operators of certain aircraft, including the CL-415EAFs, we believe that safety and reliability are two of the primary attributes that customers consider when selecting aerial firefighting services. Our failure to maintain standards of safety and reliability that are satisfactory to our customers may adversely impact our ability to retain current customers and attract new customers. We are at risk of adverse publicity stemming from any public incident involving our company, our people, or our brand. Such an incident could involve the actual or alleged behavior of any of our employees.
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Increased accident history could bar us from certain contracts, thereby reducing demand for our services. Further, if our personnel or one of the aircraft models that is used by us is involved in a public incident, accident, catastrophe, or regulatory enforcement action, we could be exposed to significant reputational harm and potential legal liability. The insurance we carry may be inapplicable or inadequate to cover any such incident, accident, catastrophe, or action. In the event that our insurance is inapplicable or inadequate, we may be forced to bear substantial losses from an incident or accident. In addition, any such incident, accident, catastrophe, or action involving our employees or one of the aircraft models used by us could create an adverse public perception, which could harm our reputation, resulting in existing or potential customers being reluctant to use our services and adversely impacting our business, results of operations, and financial condition. If one or more of our operators were to suffer an accident or lose the ability to fly certain aircraft due to safety concerns or investigations, we may be required to cancel or delay certain aerial firefighting services until replacement aircraft and personnel are obtained.
Our operations may also be negatively impacted by accidents or other safety-related events or investigations that occur in or near the airports and the hangars we utilize for our aerial firefighting services. For example, if an accident were to occur at or near one of our hangars that we rely on for certain flights, we may be unable to utilize that hangar until the accident has been cleared, any damages to the facilities have been repaired, and any insurance, regulatory, or other investigations have been completed. Similarly, an adverse safety event by a third- party with respect to the CL-415EAF or any of the other planes in our fleet could result in temporary or permanent bans on certain aircraft models by our current or future customers.
Our business is inherently risky in that it is fighting wildfires which are powerful and unpredictable.
The performance of our services necessitates that we interact with wildfires. Wildfires can be massively unpredictable, and while we have implemented safety protocols and systems, these protocols and systems cannot eliminate the risk of accidents. Further, to effectively fight fires, flight operations often require low-level flights and involve performing services in mountainous terrain, both of which increase the risks involved with our services. To protect against these dangers, we may be required to incur more expenses and/or implement time- consuming safety protocols and systems, which could cause our expenses to be higher than anticipated. We may also be more likely to experience an adverse safety event.
The unavailability of an aircraft due to loss, mechanical failure, lack of pilots or maintenance personnel, especially one of the Viking Air CL-415EAFs, would result in lower operating revenues for us for a period of time that cannot be determined and would likely be prolonged.
Aircraft loss for any reason could impact our ability to provide services. Short- or long-term unavailability of an aircraft may also result from an aging fleet or parts obsolescence. Replacement aircraft or replacement parts may not be available or only available with significant delays.
Our revenues are disproportionately derived from the services of our Super Scoopers. The unavailability of one or more of our Super Scoopers could result in a significant reduction in our revenues and adversely affect our results of operations. For example, in 2022, we experienced a delay with the delivery of our fifth and sixth Super Scooper aircraft. We originally expected that the fifth Super Scooper and sixth Super Scooper would be delivered in May and July 2022, respectively, but ultimately, the delivery and subsequent preparation for deployment of the fifth Super Scooper was delayed until September 2022 and the sixth Super Scooper was not delivered until February 2023. As a result of such delays, our results of operations for the 2022 wildfire season were materially affected. Additionally, only pilots with significant flight hours can operate Super Scoopers, and there is a limited number of available pilots due to the demanding levels of training. There is a limited number of Super Scoopers in operation globally. Certain replacement parts may be unavailable or difficult to obtain, and we may be unable to hire sufficient mechanics trained to service Super Scoopers.
Our pilots and mechanics are required by contract to meet a minimum standard of operational experience. Finding and employing individuals with the necessary level of experience and certification has required us to hire Canadian personnel in addition to U.S. personnel. Inability to source and hire personnel with appropriate skills and experience would inhibit operations.
Our business’s success depends on our continued ability to attract, retain, and motivate highly qualified personnel with experience in the aviation space, including pilots and mechanics. However, competition for qualified personnel is intense. Our business may not be successful in attracting qualified personnel to fulfill our current or future needs. In the event that we are unable to fill critical open employment positions, we may need to delay our operational activities and goals, including the development and expansion of our business, and may have difficulty in meeting our obligations as a public company.
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In addition, competitors and others may attempt to recruit our employees. The loss of the services of any of our key personnel, the inability to attract or retain highly qualified personnel in the future or delays in hiring such personnel, particularly senior management, pilots, and other technical personnel, could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, the replacement of key personnel likely would involve significant time and costs and may significantly delay or prevent the achievement of our business objectives.
The development of superior alternative firefighting tactics or technology that do not rely on our existing and planned capital assets could reduce demand for our services and result in a material reduction in our revenue and results of operations.
Our aircraft have been modified to deploy our technology and support our existing firefighting tactics to fight wildfires. In particular, the Super Scooper is specially designed to fight forest fires with water and to refill from open bodies of water. If new technology or firefighting tactics are created or discovered that provide more powerful, more economic, faster, safer, more environmentally friendly or services that are otherwise superior in certain aspects to our current services, then we may see reduced demand for our services or be required to incur additional costs to adapt our fleet to such technologies or firefighting tactics. Additionally, current and potential government customers may push towards contracting services from customers with modernized fleets. All of these changes could narrow the scope of future contracts to exclude our existing assets, which could reduce demand for our services, our revenues, and earnings.
Operations Risks
We rely on our IT systems to manage numerous aspects of our business. A cyber-based attack of these systems could disrupt our ability to deliver services to our customers and could lead to increased overhead costs, decreased sales, and harm to our reputation.
We rely on IT networks and systems to operate and manage our business. Our IT networks and systems process, transmit and store personal and financial information, and proprietary information of our business. The technology also allows us to coordinate our business across our operation bases and communicate with our employees and externally with customers, suppliers, partners, and other third parties. While we believe we take reasonable steps to secure these IT networks and systems, and the data processed, transmitted, and stored thereon, such networks, systems, and data may be susceptible to cyberattacks, viruses, malware, or other unauthorized access or damage (including by environmental, malicious, or negligent acts), which could result in unauthorized access to, or the release and public exposure of, our proprietary information or our users’ personal information. In addition, cyberattacks, viruses, malware, or other damage or unauthorized access to our IT networks and systems could result in damage, disruptions, or shutdowns to our platform. Any of the foregoing could cause substantial harm to our business, require us to make notifications to our customers, governmental authorities, or the media, and could result in litigation, investigations or inquiries by government authorities, or subject us to penalties, fines, and other losses relating to the investigation and remediation of such an attack or other unauthorized access or damage to our IT systems and networks.
Our service, data and systems may be critical to operations or involve the storage, processing and transmission of sensitive data, including valuable intellectual property, other proprietary or confidential data, regulated data, and personal information of employees, and others. Successful breaches, employee malfeasance, or human or technological error could result in, for example, unauthorized access to, disclosure, modification, misuse, loss, or destruction of our or other third-party data or systems; theft of sensitive, regulated, or confidential data including personal information and intellectual property; the loss of access to critical data or systems; service or system disruptions or denials of service.
Our ability to attract and retain customers, to efficiently operate our business, and to compete effectively depends in part upon the sophistication, security, and reliability of our technology network, including our ability to provide features of service that are important to our customers, to protect our confidential business information and the information provided by our customers, and to maintain customer confidence in our ability to protect our systems and to provide services consistent with their expectations. As a result, we are subject to risks imposed by data breaches and operational disruptions, including through cyberattack or cyber-intrusion, by computer hackers, foreign governments, cyber terrorists and activists, cyber criminals, malicious employees or other insiders of the Company or third-party service providers, and other groups and individuals.
Data breaches of companies and governments continue to increase as the number, intensity, and sophistication of attempted attacks and intrusions from around the world have increased and we, our customers, and third parties increasingly store and transmit data by means of connected IT systems. Additionally, risks such as code anomalies, “Acts of God”, data leakage, cyber-fraud, and human error pose a direct threat to our services, systems, and data and could result in unauthorized or block legitimate access to sensitive or confidential data regarding our operations, customers, employees, and suppliers, including personal information.
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We also depend on and interact with the technology and systems of third parties, including our customers and third-party service providers such as cloud service providers. Such third parties may host, process, or have access to information we maintain about our company, customers, employees, and vendors or operate systems that are critical to our business operations and services. Like us, these third parties are subject to risks imposed by data breaches, cyberattacks, and other events or actions that could damage, disrupt, or close down their networks or systems. We have security processes, protocols, and standards in place, including contractual provisions requiring such security measures, that are applicable to such third parties and are designed to protect information that is held by them, or to which they have access, as a result of their engagements with us. Nevertheless, a cyberattack could defeat one or more of such third parties’ security measures, allowing an attacker to obtain information about our company, customers, employees, and vendors or disrupt our operations. These third parties may also experience operational disruptions or human error that could result in unauthorized access to sensitive or confidential data regarding our operations, customers, employees, and suppliers, including personal information.
A disruption to our complex, global technology infrastructure, including those impacting our computer systems and website, could result in the loss of confidential business or customer information, require substantial repairs or replacements, resulting in significant costs, and lead to the temporary or permanent transfer by customers of some or all of their business to our competitors. The foregoing could harm our reputation and adversely impact our operations, customer service, and results of operations. Additionally, a security breach could require us to devote significant management resources to address the problems created. A significant data breach or any failure, or perceived failure, by us to comply with any federal, state, or foreign privacy laws, regulations, or other principles or orders to which we may be subject could adversely affect our reputation, brand, and business, and may result in claims, investigations, proceedings, or actions against us by governmental entities, litigation, including class action litigation, from our customers, fines, penalties, or other liabilities, or require us to change our operations or cease using certain data sets. Depending on the nature of the information compromised, we may also have obligations to notify users, law enforcement, government authorities, payment companies, consumer reporting agencies, or the media about the incident and may be required to expend additional resources in connection with investigating and remediating such an incident, and otherwise complying with applicable privacy and data security laws.
These types of adverse impacts could also occur in the event the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of company and customer information was compromised due to a data loss by us or a trusted third party. We or the third parties with which we share information may not discover any security breach and loss of information for a significant period of time after the security breach occurs.
We have invested and continue to invest in technology security initiatives, information-technology risk management, business continuity, and disaster recovery plans, including investments to retire and replace end-of-life systems. The development and maintenance of these measures is costly and requires ongoing monitoring and updating as technologies change and efforts to overcome security measures become increasingly more frequent, intense, and sophisticated. Despite our efforts, we are not fully insulated from data breaches, technology disruptions, data loss, and cyber-fraud, which could adversely impact our competitiveness and results of operations.
While we have significant security processes and initiatives in place, we may be unable to detect or prevent a breach or disruption in the future. Additionally, while we have insurance coverage designed to address certain aspects of cyber risks in place, such insurance coverage may be insufficient to cover all losses or all types of claims that may arise.
Failure to comply with federal, state and foreign laws and regulations relating to privacy, data protection and consumer protection, or the expansion of current laws and regulations or the enactment of new laws or regulations in these areas, could adversely affect our business and our financial condition.
We are subject to a wide variety of laws in the United States and other jurisdictions related to privacy, data protection and consumer protection that are often complex and subject to varying interpretations. As a result, these privacy, data protection and consumer protection laws may change or develop over time through judicial decisions or as new guidance or interpretations are provided by regulatory and governing bodies and such changes or developments may be contrary to our existing practices. This may cause us to expend resources on updating, changing or eliminating some of our privacy and data protection practices.
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Our reputation and ability to do business may be impacted by the improper conduct of our employees, agents or business partners.
We have implemented compliance controls, training, policies and procedures designed to prevent and detect reckless or criminal acts from being committed by our employees, agents or business partners that would violate the laws of the jurisdictions in which we operate, including laws governing payments to government officials, such as the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the protection of export controlled or classified information, such as the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (“ITAR”), false claims, procurement integrity, cost accounting and billing, competition, information security and data privacy and the terms of our contracts. This risk of improper conduct may increase as we continue to grow and expand our operations. We cannot ensure, however, that our controls, training, policies and procedures will prevent or detect all such reckless or criminal acts, and we have been adversely impacted by such acts in the past, which have been immaterial in nature. If not prevented, such reckless or criminal acts could subject us to civil or criminal investigations, monetary and non-monetary penalties and suspension and debarment by the U.S. government and could have a material adverse effect on our ability to conduct business, our results of operations and our reputation. In addition, misconduct involving data security lapses resulting in the compromise of personal information or the improper use of our customer’s sensitive or classified information could result in remediation costs, regulatory sanctions against us and serious harm to our reputation and could adversely impact our ability to continue to contract with the U.S. government.
Any failure to offer high-quality aerial firefighting services to customers may harm our relationships with our customers and could adversely affect our reputation, brand, business, financial condition and results of operations.
We strive to create high levels of customer satisfaction and brand trust through our services and the support provided by our employees. Our customers depend on our team to resolve any issues relating to our services, which are often emergencies, in an efficient and accurate manner. Our ability to provide effective and timely services is largely dependent on numerous factors, including our ability to maintain our existing fleet and our ability to attract and retain skilled employees who can support our customers and are sufficiently knowledgeable about our services. As we continue to grow our business and improve our platform, we will face challenges related to providing quality support at scale. Any failure to provide efficient and timely services, or a market perception that we do not maintain high-quality or dependable services, could adversely affect our reputation, brand, business, financial condition and results of operations.
Natural disasters, unusual weather conditions, pandemic or epidemic outbreaks, terrorist acts and political events could disrupt our business.
The occurrence of one or more natural disasters such as fires, tornados, hurricanes, floods and earthquakes, unusual weather conditions, epidemic or pandemic outbreaks, terrorist attacks or disruptive political events where our facilities or the hangars where our aircraft fleets are located, could damage our fleet or other property and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Severe weather, such as rainfall, snowfall or extreme temperatures, may impact the ability for our aerial firefighting services to occur as planned, resulting in additional expense to reschedule or cancel altogether, thereby reducing our sales and profitability. Terrorist attacks, actual or threatened acts of war or the escalation of current hostilities, or any other military or trade disruptions impacting our domestic or foreign suppliers of components of our aircraft, may impact our operations by, among other things, causing supply chain disruptions and increases in commodity prices, which could adversely affect our raw materials or transportation costs. To the extent these events also impact one or more of our suppliers or result in the closure of any of their facilities or our facilities, we may be unable to fulfill our other contracts.
We are subject to risks associated with climate change, including the potential increased impacts of severe weather events on our operations and infrastructure, and changes in weather patterns may result in lower demand for our services if such changes result in a reduced risk of wildfires.
All climate change-related regulatory activity and developments may adversely affect our business and financial results by requiring us to reduce our emissions, make capital investments to modernize certain aspects of our operations, purchase carbon offsets, or otherwise pay for our emissions. Such activity may also impact us indirectly by increasing our operating costs.
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The potential physical effects of climate change, such as increased frequency and severity of storms, floods, fires, fog, mist, freezing conditions, sea-level rise, and other climate-related events, could affect our operations, infrastructure, and financial results. We could incur significant costs to improve the climate resiliency of our infrastructure and otherwise prepare for, respond to, and mitigate such physical effects of climate change. We are not able to accurately predict the materiality of any potential losses or costs associated with the physical effects of climate change. We believe that rising global temperatures have been, and in the future are expected to be, one factor contributing to increasing rates and severity of wildfires. Climate change and global temperatures are impacted my many variables, however, and cannot be predicted with certainty. If global temperatures were to decrease, then the rate and severity of wildfires may decrease as well, resulting in lower demand for our services.
Our business is dependent on the availability of aircraft fuel. Continued periods of significant disruption in the supply or cost of aircraft fuel could have a significant negative impact on consumer demand, our operating results and liquidity.
We are currently able to obtain adequate supplies of aircraft fuel but we cannot predict the future availability. Natural disasters (including hurricanes or similar events in the U.S. Southeast and on the Gulf Coast, where we have performed our aerial firefighting services), political disruptions or military conflicts involving oil-producing countries, economic sanctions imposed against oil-producing countries or specific industry participants, changes in fuel-related governmental policy, the strength of the U.S. dollar against foreign currencies, changes in the cost to transport or store petroleum products, changes in access to petroleum product pipelines and terminals, speculation in the energy futures markets, changes in aircraft fuel production capacity, environmental concerns and other unpredictable events may result in fuel supply shortages or distribution challenges in the future. Any of these factors or events could cause a disruption in or increased demands on oil production, refinery operations, pipeline capacity or terminal access and possibly result in diminished availability of aircraft fuel supply for our business. The impact of such events may limit our ability to perform our aerial firefighting services, which could result in loss of revenue and adversely affect our ability to provide our services.
System failures, defects, errors or vulnerabilities in our website, applications, backend systems, or other technology systems or those of third-party technology providers could harm our reputation and brand and adversely impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our systems, or those of third parties upon which we rely, may experience service interruptions, outages or degradation because of hardware and software defects or malfunctions, human error, or malfeasance by third parties or our employees, contractors, or service providers, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, fires, natural disasters, power losses, disruptions in telecommunications services, fraud, military or political conflicts, terrorist attacks, cyberattacks or other events. Our insurance may not be sufficient, and we may not have sufficient remedies available to us from our third-party service providers, to cover all of our losses that may result from such interruptions, outages or degradation.
If we fail to adequately protect our proprietary intellectual property rights, our competitive position could be impaired and we may lose market share, generate reduced revenue and/or incur costly litigation to protect our rights.
Our success depends, in part, on our ability to protect our proprietary intellectual property rights, including certain technologies we utilize in arranging air firefighting services. To date, we have relied primarily on trade secrets and trademarks to protect our proprietary technology. Our software is also subject to certain protection under copyright law, though we have chosen not to register any of our copyrights. We routinely enter into non-disclosure agreements with our employees, consultants, third party aircraft operators and other relevant persons and take other measures to protect our intellectual property rights, such as limiting access to our trade secrets and other confidential information. We intend to continue to rely on these and other means, including patent protection, in the future. However, the steps we take to protect our intellectual property may be inadequate, and unauthorized parties may attempt to copy aspects of our intellectual property or obtain and use information that we regard as proprietary and, if successful, may potentially cause us to lose market share, harm our ability to compete and result in reduced revenue. Moreover, our non-disclosure agreements do not prevent our competitors from independently developing technologies that are substantially equivalent or superior to our products, and there can be no assurance that our competitors or third parties will comply with the terms of these agreements, or that we will be able to successfully enforce such agreements or obtain sufficient remedies if they are breached. There can be no assurance that the intellectual property rights we own or license will provide competitive advantages or will not be challenged or circumvented by our competitors.
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Further, obtaining and maintaining patent, copyright and trademark protection can be costly, and we may choose not to, or may fail to, pursue or maintain such forms of protection for our technology in the United States or foreign jurisdictions, which could harm our ability to maintain our competitive advantage in such jurisdictions. It is also possible that we will fail to identify patentable aspects of our technology before it is too late to obtain patent protection, that we will be unable to devote the resources to file and prosecute all patent applications for such technology, or that we will inadvertently lose protection for failing to comply with all procedural, documentary, payment and similar obligations during the patent prosecution process. The laws of some countries do not protect proprietary rights to the same extent as the laws of the United States, and mechanisms for enforcement of intellectual property rights in some foreign countries may be inadequate to prevent other parties from infringing our proprietary technology. To the extent we expand our international activities, our exposure to unauthorized use of our technologies and proprietary information may increase. We may also fail to detect unauthorized use of our intellectual property or be required to expend significant resources to monitor and protect our intellectual property rights, including engaging in litigation, which may be costly, time-consuming, and divert the attention of management and resources and may not ultimately be successful. If we fail to meaningfully establish, maintain, protect and enforce our intellectual property rights, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.
We use open-source software in connection with our platform, which may pose risks to our intellectual property.
We use open source software in connection with our technology products and plan to continue using open- source software in the future. Some licenses governing the use of open-source software contain requirements that we make available source code for modifications or derivative works we create based upon the open-source software. If we combine or link our proprietary source code with open-source software in certain ways, we may be required, under the terms of the applicable open-source licenses, to make our proprietary source code available to third parties. Although we monitor our use of open-source software, we cannot provide assurance that all open-source software is reviewed prior to use in our platform, that our developers have not incorporated open-source software into our platform that we are unaware of, or that they will not do so in the future. Additionally, the terms of open-source licenses have not been extensively interpreted by United States or international courts, and so there is a risk that open-source software licenses could be construed in a manner that imposes unanticipated conditions or restrictions on us or our proprietary software. If an author or other third party that distributes such open-source software were to allege that we had not complied with the conditions of an open-source license, we could incur significant legal costs defending ourselves against such allegations or remediating any alleged non-compliance with open-source licenses. Any such remediation efforts could require significant additional resources, and we may not be able to successfully complete any such remediation. Further, in addition to risks related to license requirements, use of certain open-source software can lead to greater risks than use of third-party commercial software, as open-source licensors generally do not provide warranties, and the open-source software may contain security vulnerabilities.
Our insurance may become too difficult or expensive for us to obtain or maintain. Increases in insurance costs or reductions in insurance coverage may materially and adversely impact our results of operations and financial position.
As the owners and operators of certain aircraft, we maintain general liability aviation premise insurance, non-owned aircraft liability coverage and directors and officers insurance, and we believe our level of coverage is customary in the industry and adequate to protect against claims. However, there can be no assurance that it will be sufficient to cover potential claims or that present levels of coverage will be available in the future at reasonable cost. Additionally, replacement aircraft, especially new Super Scoopers, may not be readily available for purchase, potentially resulting in lost revenue for extended periods of time. Further, we expect our insurance costs to increase as we anticipate adding aircraft, expanding our services, and entering into new markets.
We are highly dependent on our senior management team and other highly skilled personnel with unique skills. We will need to be able to continue to grow our workforce with highly skilled workers in the future. If we are not successful in attracting or retaining highly qualified personnel, we may not be able to successfully implement our business strategy.
Our success depends, in significant part, on the continued services of our senior management team and on our ability to attract, motivate, develop, and retain a sufficient number of other highly skilled personnel, including finance, marketing, sales, and technology and support personnel. We believe that the breadth and depth of our senior management team’s experience across multiple industries will be instrumental to our success. The loss of any one or more members of our senior management team, for any reason, including resignation or retirement, could impair our ability to execute our business strategy and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations. Additionally, our financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected if we are unable to attract and retain skilled employees to support our operations and growth. In particular, Mr. Timothy Sheehy, our Chief Executive Officer, Co-Founder and a Director of Bridger, will resign as Chief Executive Officer if he is elected to U.S. Senate, as further described in the risk factor immediately below.
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We are highly dependent on the services of Mr. Timothy Sheehy, our Chief Executive Officer, Co-Founder and a Director of Bridger, who is currently running for a seat in the U.S. Senate.
We are highly dependent on the services of Mr. Sheehy, the Company’s Chief Executive Officer, Co-Founder and Director. On June 27, 2023, Mr. Sheehy announced his entrance into the 2024 race for the U.S. Senate for the State of Montana. During his candidacy, Mr. Sheehy has continued to serve as our Chief Executive Officer with the continued support of Bridger’s existing management team, and Mr. Sheehy has not publicly announced a specific intention of resigning as our Chief Executive Officer. However, in the event that Mr. Sheehy is elected to serve as a U.S. Senator for the State of Montana, Mr. Sheehy would be required to resign as an officer and director of the Company pursuant to certain conflict of interest rules contained in the Senate Code of Official Conduct. The loss of Mr. Sheehy as an officer and director of the Company could adversely affect our business because this could make it more difficult to, among other things, compete with other market participants, manage our operations, execute our growth strategy and retain existing customers or cultivate new ones.
Although Mr. Sheehy continues to spend significant time with Bridger and remain highly active in our management during his candidacy, he has not devoted his full time and attention to Bridger. Mr. Sheehy has spent, and expects to continue to spend, time campaigning for the U.S. Senate seat.
Additionally, Mr. Sheehy and we may be the targets of one or more negative media campaigns in connection with Mr. Sheehy’s U.S. Senate campaign. Public perception of, or news related to, Mr. Sheehy or his U.S. Senate campaign may adversely affect our brand, relationship with customers, suppliers, employees or other of our stakeholders or our standing in the industry, any of which could materially impair our business and results of operations.
Our business may be adversely affected by labor and union activities.
None of our employees are currently represented by a labor union. However, it is common throughout the aerospace industry generally for many employees at aerospace companies to belong to a union, which can result in higher employee costs and increased risk of work stoppages. We may also directly and indirectly depend upon other companies with unionized work forces, such as parts suppliers and trucking and freight companies, and work stoppages or strikes organized by such unions could harm our business, financial condition or operating results.
Past performance by our management team or their respective affiliates may not be indicative of future performance of an investment in us.
Our management team has successfully grown and exited prior business ventures, including Ascent Vision Technologies by our founders, Mr. Matthew Sheehy and Mr. Timothy Sheehy. Any past experience or performance of our management team and their respective affiliates is not a guarantee of success with respect to Bridger.
We have entered into ground leases with terms of twenty (20) years and ten (10) years with the Gallatin Airport Authority (the “Airport Authority”) for each of our hangars. If the Airport Authority declines to renew any of our ground leases, our operations and results of operations could be materially and adversely impacted.
Our current hangars are located on certain land owned by the Airport Authority and leased to our subsidiaries. The initial term of each Ground Lease is either twenty (20) years or ten (10) years from its respective commencement date. These hangars are critical to our ability to provide maintenance on our aircraft. If the Airport Authority terminates our leases, or refuses to renew them when expired, we may incur significant costs to locate suitable alternative hangar locations and may incur increased costs to modify any replacement hangars for our business, and the process may require significant management attention.
Our lack of diversification with respect to the aircraft we use may subject us to negative economic, competitive and regulatory developments that disproportionately impact our aviation assets as compared to other fire suppression aircraft or alternative fire suppression services, which could adversely affect our ability to market and sell our services and our reputation.
Our fleet is comprised mainly of CL-415EAF aircraft, which is currently limited in supply (see the section of this Annual Report on Form 10-K entitled “Risk Factors — There is a limited supply of new CL-415EAF aircraft to purchase, and an inability to purchase additional CL-415EAF aircraft could impede our ability to increase our revenue and net income.”). Furthermore, regulations or restrictions that cause us to ground the fleet after a safety or maintenance event, whether or not in connection with us or our services, have the potential to significantly affect our ability to carry out our operations and generate revenue. A similar incident could also damage our reputation or the perception of safety or efficacy of the CL-415EAF in fighting wildfires, which could negatively impact our business and results of operations.
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Any delays in the development, design and engineering of our products and services may adversely impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We have previously experienced, and may experience in the future, delays or other complications in the design, production, delivery and servicing ramp of our systems, products, technologies, services, and related technology. If delays like this arise or recur, if our remediation measures and process changes do not continue to be successful or if we experience issues with design and safety, we could experience issues or delays in increasing production further.
If we encounter difficulties in scaling our delivery or servicing capabilities, if we fail to develop and successfully commercialize our products and services, if we fail to develop such technologies before our competitors, or if such technologies fail to perform as expected, are inferior to those of our competitors or are perceived to offer less mission assurance than those of our competitors, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely impacted.
Seasonality Risks
There is a seasonal fluctuation in the need to fight forest fires based upon location. A significant portion of our total revenue currently occurs during the second and third quarters of the year due to the North American fire season, and the intensity of the fire season varies from year to year. As a result, our operating results may fluctuate significantly from quarter to quarter and from year to year.
Our quarterly and annual operating results may fluctuate significantly, which makes our future operating results difficult to predict and could cause our operating results to fall below expectations or any guidance we may provide. These fluctuations may occur due to a variety of factors, many of which are outside of our control, including but not limited to: forest fires tend to have a higher occurrence during the summer months and during times of drought, but are ultimately unpredictable; climate change and changes in global temperatures occur over time; unexpected weather patterns, natural disasters or other events that increase or decrease the rate or intensity of wildfires or impair our ability to perform firefighting services; changes in governmental regulations or in the status of our regulatory approvals or applications. The individual or cumulative effects of factors discussed above could result in large fluctuations and unpredictability in our quarterly and annual operating results. As a result, comparing our operating results on a period-to-period basis may not be meaningful or be a good indication of our current or future performance. For example, due to the condensed and less intense 2023 wildfire season, we experienced a decrease in demand for our wildfire surveillance, relief and suppression and aerial firefighting services and had less flight hours and standby days than prior years, which negatively impacted our results of operations for the 2023 wildfire season.
This variability and unpredictability could also result in our failing to meet the expectations of industry or financial analysts or investors for any period. If our revenue or operating results fall below the expectations of analysts or investors or below any guidance we may provide, or if any guidance we provide is below the expectations of analysts or investors, the price of our common stock could decline substantially. Such a stock price decline could occur even when we have met any previously publicly stated guidance we may provide. Furthermore, if we are unable to obtain access to working capital or if seasonal fluctuations are greater than anticipated, there could be a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
Extreme weather, drought and shifting climate patterns have intensified the challenges associated with many of the risks facing the Company, particularly wildfire management.
Extreme weather, drought and shifting climate patterns have intensified the challenges associated with many of the other risks facing our business, particularly wildfire management. Our service territory encompasses some of the most densely forested areas in the United States and, as a consequence, is subject to risks from vegetation- related ignition events. Further, environmental extremes, such as drought conditions and extreme heat followed by periods of wet weather, can drive additional vegetation growth (which can then fuel fires) and influence both the likelihood and severity of extraordinary wildfire events. Contributing factors other than environmental can include local land use policies and historical forestry management practices. The combined effects of extreme weather and climate change also impact this risk.
Further, we have been studying the potential effects of climate change (increased severity and frequency of storm events, sea level rise, land subsidence, change in temperature extremes, changes in precipitation patterns and drought, and wildfire) on Bridger’s assets, operations and services, and we are developing adaptation plans to set forth a strategy for those events and conditions that we believe are most significant. Consequences of these climate-driven events may vary widely and could include increased stress on our services due to new patterns of demand, physical damage to our fleet and infrastructure, higher operational costs and an increase in the number requests for our services. In addition, we could incur substantial costs to repair or replace aircraft and facilities.
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Events or conditions caused by climate change could have a greater impact on our operations than our studies suggest and could result in a fluctuation in revenues and expenses. Conversely, the impact could be less than we anticipate, which we expect would result in reduce demand for our aerial firefighting services.
The substantial majority of our revenue currently is concentrated in the Western United States.
Currently, the substantial majority of our revenue is generated in the states of the United States located west of the Mississippi River, and if the weather patterns result in fewer wildfires in this region, demand for “flight hour” services would decrease and potentially result in a material decrease in revenue or net income.
Sales and Customer Risks
The aerial firefighting industry is expected to grow in the near future and is volatile, and if it does not develop, if it develops slower than we expect, if it develops in a manner that does not require use of our services, if it encounters negative publicity or if our solution does not drive commercial or governmental engagement, the growth of our business will be harmed.
The market for aerial firefighting is still rapidly evolving, characterized by rapidly changing technologies, competitive pricing and competitive factors, evolving government regulation and industry standards, and changing customer demands and behaviors. If the market for our services in general does not develop as expected, or develops more slowly than expected, our business, prospects, financial condition and operating results could be harmed.
In the future, there may be other businesses who attempt to provide the services that we provide, or our main private competitors could attempt to increase operations. In the future, federal, state and local governments and foreign governments may also decide to directly provide such services.
The industry in which we operate may become increasingly competitive as a result of the expansion of the demand for aerial firefighting operations or the entrance of federal, state, and local governments and foreign governments into the aerial firefighting space. We compete against a number of private operators with different business models, and new entrants may begin offering aerial firefighting services. Factors that affect competition in our industry include price, reliability, safety, regulations, professional reputation, aircraft availability, equipment and quality, consistency and ease of service, and willingness and ability to serve specific regions. There can be no assurance that our competitors will not be successful in capturing a share of our present or potential customer base. Certain governments may decide a government owned, government operated model is preferable, from a cost perspective or otherwise, to perform aerial firefighting services directly or to own their own aircraft and contract with independent operators. The materialization of any of these risks could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
If we experience harm to our reputation and brand, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.
Continuing to increase the strength of our reputation and brand for reliable, experience-driven and cost- effective aerial firefighting services is critical to our ability to attract and retain qualified aircraft operators. In addition, our growth strategy may include international expansion through joint ventures, minority investments or other partnerships with local companies, as well as event activations and cross-marketing with other established brands, all of which benefit from our reputation and brand recognition. If we fail to protect our reputation and brand recognition, it could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We have government customers, which subjects us to risks including early termination, audits, investigations, sanctions and penalties. We are also subject to regulations applicable to government contractors which increase our operating costs and if we fail to comply, could result in the termination of our contracts with government entities.
We derive a substantial portion of our revenue from contracts with the U.S. government (accounting for approximately 72% and 96% of our total revenue for the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022, respectively) and may enter into additional contracts with the U.S. or foreign governments in the future. This subjects us to statutes and regulations applicable to companies doing business with the government, including the FAA. These government contracts customarily contain provisions that give the government substantial rights and remedies, many of which are not typically found in commercial contracts and which are unfavorable to contractors. For instance, most U.S. government agencies include provisions that allow the government to unilaterally terminate or modify contracts for convenience, and in that event, the counterparty to the contract may generally recover only its incurred or committed costs and settlement expenses and profit on work completed prior to the termination. In addition, as a small business, we have been awarded certain government contracts based on our status under the applicable regulations of the Small Business Association. If we continue to expand and are unable to maintain this small business status, we may no longer be eligible to utilize the small business status to grow our business. If the government terminates a contract for default, the defaulting party may be liable for any extra costs incurred by the government in procuring undelivered items from another source.
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All of our federal and state government contracts (accounting for approximately 88% and 99% of our total revenue for the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022, respectively) are subject to the annual approval of appropriations being made by the applicable state or federal legislative bodies to fund the expenditures under these contracts. In addition, government contracts normally contain additional requirements that may increase our costs of doing business, reduce our profits, and expose us to liability for failure to comply with these terms and conditions. These requirements include, for example:
specialized disclosure and accounting requirements unique to government contracts;
financial and compliance audits that may result in potential liability for price adjustments, recoupment of government funds after such funds have been spent, civil and criminal penalties or administrative sanctions such as suspension or debarment from doing business with the U.S. government;
public disclosures of certain contract and company information; and
mandatory socioeconomic compliance requirements, including labor requirements, non-discrimination and affirmative action programs and environmental compliance requirements.
Government contracts are also generally subject to greater scrutiny by the government, which can initiate reviews, audits and investigations regarding our compliance with government contract requirements. In addition, if we fail to comply with government contracting laws, regulations and contract requirements, our contracts may be subject to termination, and we may be subject to financial and/or other liability under our contracts, the Federal Civil False Claims Act (including treble damages and other penalties) or criminal law. In particular, the False Claims Act’s “whistleblower” provisions also allow private individuals, including present and former employees, to sue on behalf of the U.S. government. Any penalties, damages, fines, suspension or damages could adversely affect our ability to operate our business and our financial results.
The U.S. government’s budget deficit and the national debt, as well as any inability of the U.S. government to complete its budget process for any government fiscal year and consequently having to shut down or operate on funding levels equivalent to its prior fiscal year pursuant to a “continuing resolution,” could have an adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Considerable uncertainty exists regarding how future budget and program decisions will unfold, including the aerial firefighting spending priorities of the U.S. government, what challenges budget reductions will present for the aerial firefighting industry and whether annual appropriations bills for all agencies will be enacted for U.S. government fiscal year 2024 and thereafter due to many factors, including but not limited to, changes in the political environment, including before or after a change to the leadership within the government administration, and any resulting uncertainty or changes in policy or priorities and resultant funding. The U.S. government’s budget deficit and the national debt could have an adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows in a number of ways, including the following:
The U.S. government could reduce or delay its spending on, reprioritize its spending away from, or decline to provide funding for the government programs in which we participate;
U.S. government spending could be impacted by alternate arrangements to sequestration, which increases the uncertainty as to, and the difficulty in predicting, U.S. government spending priorities and levels; and
We may experience declines in revenue, profitability and cash flows as a result of reduced or delayed orders or payments or other factors caused by economic difficulties of our customers and prospective customers, including U.S. federal, state and local governments.
Furthermore, we believe continued budget pressures could have serious negative consequences for the aerial firefighting industrial base and the customers, employees, suppliers, investors and communities that rely on companies in the aerial firefighting industrial base. Budget and program decisions made in this environment would have long-term implications for us and the entire aerial firefighting industry.
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We depend significantly on U.S. government contracts, which often are only partially funded, subject to immediate termination, and heavily regulated and audited. The termination or failure to fund, or negative audit findings for, one or more of these contracts could have an adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Over its lifetime, a U.S. government program may be implemented by the award of many different individual contracts and subcontracts. The funding of U.S. government programs is subject to U.S. Congressional appropriations. In recent years, U.S. government appropriations have been affected by larger U.S. government budgetary issues and related legislation. Although multi-year contracts may be authorized and appropriated in connection with major procurements, Congress generally appropriates funds on a government fiscal year basis. Procurement funds are typically made available for obligation over the course of one to three years. Consequently, programs often initially receive only partial funding, and additional funds are obligated only as Congress authorizes further appropriations. As a result of the restrictions on the authority of federal agencies to obligate federal funds without annual appropriations from Congress, most of our contracts are structured for one base year with options for up to four additional years. We cannot predict the extent to which total funding and/or funding for individual programs will be included, increased or reduced as part of the annual appropriations process ultimately approved by Congress and the President of the United States or in separate supplemental appropriations or continuing resolutions, as applicable. The termination of funding for a U.S. government program would result in a loss of anticipated future revenue attributable to that program, which could have an adverse impact on our operations. In addition, the termination of a program or the failure to commit additional funds to a program that already has been started could result in lost revenue and increase our overall costs of doing business.
Generally, U.S. government contracts are subject to oversight audits by U.S. government representatives. Such audits could result in adjustments to our contract costs. Any costs found to be improperly allocated to a specific contract will not be reimbursed, and such costs already reimbursed must be refunded. We have recorded contract revenue based on costs we expect to realize upon final audit. However, we do not know the outcome of any future audits and adjustments, and we may be required to materially reduce our revenue or profits upon completion and final negotiation of audits. Negative audit findings could also result in termination of a contract, forfeiture of profits, suspension of payments, fines or suspension or debarment from U.S. Government contracting or subcontracting for a period of time.
In addition, U.S. government contracts generally contain provisions permitting termination, in whole or in part, without prior notice at the U.S. government’s convenience upon payment only for work done and commitments made at the time of termination. For some contracts, we are a subcontractor and not the prime contractor, and in those arrangements, the U.S. Government could terminate the prime contractor for convenience without regard for our performance as a subcontractor. We can give no assurance that one or more of our U.S. government contracts will not be terminated under those circumstances. Also, we can give no assurance that we would be able to procure new contracts to offset the revenue or backlog lost as a result of any termination of our U.S. government contracts. Because a significant portion of our revenue is dependent on our performance and payment under our U.S. government contracts, the loss of one or more large contracts could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Our U.S. government business also is subject to specific procurement regulations and a variety of socioeconomic and other requirements. These requirements, although customary in U.S. government contracts, increase our performance and compliance costs. These costs might increase in the future, thereby reducing our margins, which could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. In addition, the U.S. government has and may continue to implement initiatives focused on efficiencies, affordability and cost growth and other changes to its procurement practices. These initiatives and changes to procurement practices may change the way U.S. government contracts are solicited, negotiated and managed, which may affect whether and how we pursue opportunities to provide our products and services to the U.S. government, including the terms and conditions under which we do so, which may have an adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. For example, contracts awarded under the United States Department of Defense’s Other Transaction Authority for research and prototypes generally require cost-sharing and may not follow, or may follow only in part, standard U.S. government contracting practices and terms, such as the Federal Acquisition Regulation and Cost Accounting Standards.
Failure to comply with applicable regulations and requirements could lead to fines, penalties, repayments, or compensatory or treble damages or suspension or debarment from U.S. government contracting or subcontracting for a period of time. Among the causes for debarment are violations of various laws and regulations, including those related to procurement integrity, export control (including ITAR), U.S. government security, employment practices, protection of the environment, accuracy of records, proper recording of costs and foreign corruption. The termination of a U.S. government contract or relationship as a result of any of these acts would have an adverse impact on our operations and could have an adverse effect on our standing and eligibility for future U.S. government contracts.
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We may be blocked from or limited in providing or offering our services in certain jurisdictions and may be required to modify our business model in those jurisdictions as a result.
We face regulatory obstacles, including those lobbied for in local government, which could prevent us from operating our aerial firefighting services. We may incur significant costs in defending our right to operate in accordance with our business model in many jurisdictions. To the extent that efforts to block or limit our operations are successful, or we or third-party aircraft operators are required to comply with regulatory and other requirements applicable to our services, our revenue and growth would be adversely affected.
We may enter into firefighting contracts in the future with foreign governments, which may result in increased compliance and oversight risks and expenses.
If we enter into contracts with foreign governments in the future, we may be subject to further regulations and complicated procurement processes that require significant expense and/or management attention. Additionally, contracts with foreign governments often necessitate higher levels of compliance and oversight functions, which could increase our costs, making us less competitive and hurting our results from operations.
We may be unable to manage our future growth effectively, which could make it difficult to execute our business strategy.
If our operations continue to grow as planned, of which there can be no assurance, we will need to expand our sales, marketing, operations and the number of aircraft that we own and operate in connection with our aerial firefighting services. Our continued growth could increase the strain on our resources, and we could experience operating difficulties, including difficulties in hiring, training and managing an increasing number of employees. These difficulties may result in the erosion of our brand image, divert the attention of management and key employees and impact financial and operational results. In addition, in order to continue to increase our presence, we expect to incur substantial expenses and capital expenditures as we continue to attempt to increase our coverage areas, aircraft fleet and employee base. The continued expansion of our business may also require additional space for administrative support. If we are unable to drive commensurate growth, these costs, which include lease commitments, marketing costs and headcount, could result in decreased margins, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We rely on a few large customers for a majority of our business, and the loss of any of these customers, significant changes in the prices, marketing allowances or other important terms provided to any of these customers or adverse developments with respect to the financial condition of these customers could materially reduce our net income and operating results.
Our total revenues are concentrated among a small number of large customers. Sales to our three largest customers in the aggregate represented 88%, sales to our largest customer represented 65% of our total revenues for the year ended December 31, 2023, and two customers that accounted for 73% of accounts receivable as of December 31, 2023. Sales to our three largest customers in the aggregate represented 99%, sales to our largest customer represented 95% of our total revenues for the year ended December 31, 2022, and one customer that accounted for 62% of accounts receivable as of December 31, 2022. We are under continued pressure from our major customers to offer lower prices, extended payment terms, increased marketing and other allowances and other terms more favorable to these customers because our sales to these customers are concentrated, and the market in which we operate is very competitive. These customer demands have put continued pressure on our operating margins and profitability, resulted in periodic negotiations in connection with open requests for proposals to provide more favorable prices and terms to these customers and significantly increased our working capital needs. In addition, this customer concentration leaves us vulnerable to any adverse change in the financial condition of these customers. Changes in terms with, significant allowances for and collections from these customers could affect our operating results and cash flows. The loss of our main customers could adversely affect our business.
Our cash flow and profitability could be reduced if expenditures are incurred prior to the final receipt of a contract.
We provide services on behalf of our customers under various contractual arrangements. From time to time, in order to ensure that we satisfy our customers’ requirements and time-sensitive needs, we may elect to initiate procurement in advance of receiving final authorization from the government customer or a prime contractor. If our government or prime contractor customer’s requirements should change or if the government or the prime contractor should direct the anticipated procurement to another contractor, or if the anticipated contract award does not materialize, our investment might be at risk. This could reduce anticipated earnings or result in a loss, negatively affecting our cash flow and profitability.
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If we are not able to successfully enter into new markets and offer new services and enhance our existing offerings, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.
Our growth will depend in part on our ability to successfully enter into new markets and expand on our existing services. Significant changes to our existing services may require us to obtain and maintain applicable permits, authorizations or other regulatory approvals. If these new services are unsuccessful or fail to attract a sufficient number of customers to be profitable, or we are unable to bring new or expanded services to market efficiently, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected. Furthermore, new demands regarding our services, including the availability of superior services or a deterioration in the quality of our existing services, could negatively affect the attractiveness of our platform and the economics of our business and require us to make substantial changes to and additional investments in our routes or our business model. Developing and launching new services or enhancements to our existing services involves significant risks and uncertainties, including risks related to the reception of such services by existing and potential future customers, increases in operational complexity, unanticipated delays or challenges in implementing such services or enhancements, increased strain on our operational and internal resources (including an impairment of our ability to accurately forecast flier demand and the number of customers using our platform) and negative publicity in the event such new or enhanced routes are perceived to be unsuccessful. We have scaled our business rapidly, and significant new initiatives have in the past resulted in such operational challenges affecting our business. In addition, developing and launching new services and enhancements to our existing services may involve significant upfront investment, such as purchasing additional aircraft, and such investments may not generate return on investment.
Supplier Risks
We rely on a limited number of suppliers for certain raw materials and supplied components. We may not be able to obtain sufficient raw materials or supplied components to meet our maintenance or operating needs or obtain such materials on favorable terms or at all, which could impair our ability to provide our services in a timely manner or increase our costs of services and maintenance.
Our ability to produce our current and future systems, technologies and services and other components of operation is dependent upon sufficient availability of raw materials and supplied components, which we secure from a limited number of suppliers. Our reliance on suppliers to secure raw materials and supplied components exposes us to volatility in the prices and availability of these materials. We may not be able to obtain sufficient supplies of raw materials or supplied components on favorable terms or at all, which could result in delays in the provision of our services, our ability to repair and service our assets, or increased costs, any of which could harm our business, financial condition and results of operations. In particular, we rely on Viking, the manufacturer of our Super Scooper aircraft and an affiliate of LAS, to source and acquire the parts and materials needed to maintain our Super Scoopers and Bridger has not identified a readily available alternative supplier for certain of such parts. If we are unable to obtain (including as a result of a disruption to Viking’s business operations or supply lines) the necessary parts and materials to maintain our Super Scooper aircraft from Viking, and if we are unable to identify an alternative supplier for such parts and materials in a timely manner, then our business operations, including the maintenance and performance of our Super Scooper aircraft, and results of operations would be adversely affected.
Additionally, to maintain compliance with certain contractual structural inspection and analysis requirements under our agreements with the USFS, on January 5, 2021 we entered into Amendment 8 (SSLMP) (the “SSLMP Amendment”) to the LAS Purchase Agreement, for Viking’s provision of a Supplemental Structural Life Management Program. Viking agreed to provide us with a 5-year subscription service to a Super Scooper life management program based on the applicable FAA advisory material related to fatigue management and supplemental structural inspection programs, for which we pay a fixed subscription price. Viking does not have a termination for convenience right in respect of the services rendered pursuant to the SSLMP Amendment. If such services are nonetheless terminated or if Viking ceases to perform its obligations in respect thereof, or if we are unable to renew such services, then our business operations could be significantly disrupted and our results of operations could be adversely affected.
There is a limited supply of new CL-415EAF aircraft to purchase, and an inability to purchase additional CL-415EAF aircraft could impede our ability to increase our revenue and net income.
Currently, a majority of our revenue derives from services performed by the CL-415EAF. LAS has only made a limited number of CL-415EAFs available for sale between 2020 and 2025. If we continue to focus operations on a single airframe for fire suppression and we do not expand our fleet to other aircraft, our operations may be impacted by the limited supply of new CL-415EAF aircraft available to purchase, which creates a revenue ceiling until additional aircraft can be produced or acquired, which could adversely affect our results of operation and ability to obtain efficiencies of scale.
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We currently rely and will continue to rely on third-party partners to provide and store the parts and components required to service and maintain our aircraft, and to supply critical components and systems, which exposes us to a number of risks and uncertainties outside our control. Disputes with our suppliers or the inability of our suppliers to perform, or our key suppliers to timely deliver our components, parts or services, could cause our services to be provided in an untimely or unsatisfactory manner.
We are substantially reliant on our relationships with our suppliers and service providers for the parts and components in our aircraft. If any of these suppliers or service partners were to experience delays, disruptions, capacity constraints or quality control problems in their manufacturing operations, or if they choose to not do business with us, we would have significant difficulty in procuring and preparing our aircraft for service, and our business prospects would be significantly harmed. These disruptions would negatively impact our revenues, competitive position and reputation. In addition, our suppliers or service partners may rely on certain state tax incentives that may be subject to change or elimination in the future, which could result in additional costs and delays in production if a new manufacturing site must be obtained. Further, if we are unable to successfully manage our relationship with our suppliers or service partners, the quality and availability of our aircraft may be harmed. Our suppliers or service partners could, under some circumstances, decline to accept new purchase orders from or otherwise reduce their business with us. If our suppliers or service partners stopped manufacturing our aircraft components for any reason or reduced manufacturing capacity, we may be unable to replace the lost manufacturing capacity on a timely and comparatively cost-effective basis, which would adversely impact our operations.
The manufacturing facilities of our suppliers or service partners and the equipment used to manufacture the components for our aircraft would be costly to replace and could require substantial lead time to replace and qualify for use. The manufacturing facilities of our suppliers or service partners may be harmed or rendered inoperable by natural or man-made disasters, including earthquakes, flooding, fire and power outages, or by public health issues, which may render it difficult or impossible for us to manufacture our aircraft for some period of time. The inability to manufacture our aircraft components or the backlog that could develop if the manufacturing facilities of our suppliers or service partners are inoperable for even a short period of time may result in the loss of customers or harm our reputation.
We do not control our suppliers or service partners or such parties’ labor and other legal compliance practices, including their environmental, health and safety practices. If our current suppliers or service partners, or any other suppliers or service partners which we may use in the future, violate U.S. or foreign laws or regulations, we may be subjected to extra duties, significant monetary penalties, adverse publicity, the seizure and forfeiture of products that we are attempting to import or the loss of our import privileges. The effects of these factors could render the conduct of our business in a particular country undesirable or impractical and have a negative impact on our operating results.
Legal and Regulatory Risks
Our business is subject to a wide variety of additional extensive and evolving government laws and regulations. Failure to comply with such laws and regulations could have a material adverse effect on our business.
We are subject to a wide variety of laws and regulations relating to various aspects of our business, including with respect to employment and labor, health care, tax, privacy and data security, health and safety, and environmental issues. Laws and regulations at the foreign, federal, state and local levels frequently change, especially in relation to new and emerging industries, and we cannot always reasonably predict the impact from, or the ultimate cost of compliance with, current or future regulatory or administrative changes. We monitor these developments and devote a significant amount of management’s time and external resources towards compliance with these laws, regulations and guidelines, and such compliance places a significant burden on management’s time and other resources, and it may limit our ability to expand into certain jurisdictions. Moreover, changes in law, the imposition of new or additional regulations or the enactment of any new or more stringent legislation that impacts our business could require us to change the way we operate and could have a material adverse effect on our sales, profitability, cash flows and financial condition.
Failure to comply with these laws, such as with respect to obtaining and maintaining licenses, certificates, authorizations and permits critical for the operation of our business, may result in civil penalties or private lawsuits, or the suspension or revocation of licenses, certificates, authorizations or permits, which would prevent us from operating our business. For example, aerial firefighting and the operation of any aircraft in the United States require licenses and permits from the FAA and review by other agencies of the U.S. government, including the USFS and the DOI. License approval can include an interagency review of safety, operational, national security, and foreign policy and international obligations implications, as well as a review of foreign ownership.
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Compliance with existing or new laws can delay our operations and impair our ability to fully utilize our assets. For example, each of the aircraft acquired and operated by us is subject to a conformance and registration process with the FAA prior to use in commercial operations. This conformance carding and registration process takes some time and can be delayed from time to time due to events outside of our control, including such events as federal government shutdowns or slowdowns in operations of the FAA.
Additionally, regulation of our industry is still evolving, and new or different laws or regulations could affect our operations, increase direct compliance costs for us or cause any third-party suppliers or contractors to raise the prices they charge us because of increased compliance costs. Application of these laws to our business may negatively impact our performance in various ways, limiting the collaborations we may pursue, further regulating the export and re-export of our services and technology from the United States and abroad and increasing our costs and the time necessary to obtain required authorization. The adoption of a multi-layered regulatory approach to any one of the laws or regulations to which we are or may become subject, particularly where the layers are in conflict, could require changes to the performance of our services or operational parameters which may adversely impact our business. We may not be in complete compliance with all such requirements at all times and, even when we believe we are in complete compliance, a regulatory agency may determine that we are not.
Our operations are subject to various federal, state and local laws and regulations governing health and the environment.
We are subject to a wide variety of various federal, state and local laws and regulations governing health and the environment due to the nature of our operations. Changes in the legal and or regulatory framework relating to the environment could have significant impact on our operations. For example, certain local land use policies and forestry management practices could be restricted to reduce the construction and development of residential and commercial projects in high-risk fire areas, which could lead to a reduction in demand for our services. Likewise, certain or future state and local water use and access policies could restrict our ability to access the bodies of water necessary to combat wildfires with our existing fire suppression aircraft. In the future, we may be unable to secure exemptions to these policies, and demand for our services could decrease. If these or any other change in the legal or regulatory framework relating to the environmental impact the operation of our business and the provision of our services, our costs, revenue and results of operations may be adversely affected.
Financial and Capital Strategy Risks
We may require substantial additional funding to finance our operations and growth strategy, but adequate additional financing may not be available when we need it, on acceptable terms, or at all, and our ability to pursue equity financings may depend in part, on the market price of our Common Stock.
We financed our operations and capital expenditures during 2022 and 2023 primarily through private financing rounds, including the $160.0 million aggregate municipal bond financing that closed on July 21, 2022 and August 10, 2022. In the future, we could be required to raise capital through public or private financing or other arrangements. Such financing may not be available on acceptable terms, or at all, and our failure to raise capital when needed could harm our business. We may sell equity securities or debt securities in one or more transactions at prices and in a manner as we may determine from time to time for general corporate purposes or for specific purposes, including in order to pursue growth initiatives. Any debt financing, if available, may involve restrictive covenants and could reduce our operational flexibility or profitability. If we sell any securities in subsequent transactions, our current investors may be materially diluted. If we cannot raise funds on acceptable terms, we may not be able to grow our business or respond to competitive pressures. In addition, our ability to generate proceeds from equity financings will significantly depend on the market price of our Common Stock. For so long as the market price of our Common Stock is below the exercise price of our Warrants ($11.50 per share), our Warrants remain “out-of-the-money,” and our Warrant Holders are unlikely to cash exercise their Warrants, resulting in little or no cash proceeds to us. There can be no assurance that our Warrants will be in the money prior to their January 24, 2028 expiration date, and therefore, we may not receive any proceeds from the exercise of Warrants to fund our operations.
We currently have a shelf registration statement on Form S-3 effective and an existing “at-the-market” offering program. However, SEC regulations limit the amount that companies with a public float of less than $75 million may raise during any 12-month period pursuant to a shelf registration statement on Form S-3. Under General Instruction I.B.6 to Form S-3 (the “Baby Shelf Rule”), the amount of funds a company can raise through primary public offerings of securities in any 12-month period using a registration statement on Form S-3 pursuant to the Baby Shelf Rule is limited to one-third of the aggregate market value of its shares of common stock held by non-affiliates of the company. Currently, we are constrained by the Baby Shelf Rule. If we are required or choose to file a new registration statement on a form other than Form S-3, we may incur additional costs and be subject to delays due to review by the SEC staff.
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In connection with the acquisition of the Spanish Scoopers by a subsidiary of MAB, we entered into a Services Agreement (the “MAB Services Agreement”) with such subsidiary that provides that, subject to the Company’s existing debt obligations, Bridger must apply the net cash proceeds from (i) 75% of the net cash proceeds of the issuance of equity securities in excess of $1.8 million, (ii) the net cash proceeds of the sale of equity interests, assets or properties other than in the ordinary course, (iii) the net cash proceeds of the incurrence of indebtedness in excess of $5 million, other than refinancing indebtedness, and (iv) the net cash proceeds of any sale, sale leaseback or other fundamental corporate transaction, in each case, towards the purchase of the Spanish Scoopers and/or other payment obligations under the Agreement. As a result, our use of proceeds from additional funding will be restricted during the term of the MAB Services Agreement. Additionally, the MAB Services Agreement restricts us from acquiring, leasing or operating any new Super Scooper or other firefighting aircraft during the term of the Agreement, excluding the Super Scoopers and other firefighting aircraft currently owned or leased by us. The MAB Services Agreement also prohibits us from purchasing other equity interests, assets or properties with cash or cash equivalents during the term of the agreement. As a result, the MAB Services Agreement may preclude us from pursuing acquisition or expansion plans that we would have otherwise pursued and may limit our growth options and strategy, other than the acquisition and return to service of the Spanish Scoopers under the MAB Services Agreement.
Any acquisitions, partnerships or joint ventures that we enter into could disrupt our operations and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. As part of growing our business, we have and may make acquisitions. If we fail to successfully select, execute or integrate our acquisitions, then our business, results of operations and financial condition could be materially adversely affected, and our stock price could decline.
From time to time, we may evaluate potential strategic acquisitions of businesses, including partnerships or joint ventures with third parties. We may not be successful in identifying acquisition, partnership and joint venture candidates. In addition, we may not be able to continue the operational success of such businesses or successfully finance or integrate any businesses that we acquire or with which we form a partnership or joint venture. We may have potential write-offs of acquired assets and/or an impairment of any goodwill recorded as a result of acquisitions. Furthermore, the integration of any acquisition may divert management’s time and resources from our core business and disrupt our operations or may result in conflicts with our business. Any acquisition, partnership or joint venture may not be successful, may reduce our cash reserves, may negatively affect our earnings and financial performance and, to the extent financed with the proceeds of debt, may increase our indebtedness. Further, depending on market conditions, investor perceptions of us and other factors, we might not be able to obtain financing on acceptable terms, or at all, to implement any such transaction. We cannot ensure that any acquisition, partnership or joint venture we make will not have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our systems, aircraft, technologies and services and related equipment may have shorter useful lives than we anticipate.
Our growth strategy depends in part on the acquisition and maintenance of additional assets, including Super Scoopers, Air Attack aircraft, and airport hangars. A number of factors will impact the useful lives of our aircraft and facilities, including, among other things, the quality of their design and construction, the durability of their component parts and availability of any replacement components, and the occurrence of any anomaly or series of anomalies or other risks affecting the technology during firefighting and surveillance operations. In addition, any improvements in technology may make our existing aircraft, designs, or any component of our aircraft prior to the end of its life obsolete. If our systems, aircraft, facilities, technologies, and related equipment have shorter useful lives than we currently anticipate, this may lead to higher costs, lower returns on capital, or customer price increases that could hinder our ability to obtain new business, any of which would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
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We have a substantial amount of debt and servicing future interest or principal payments may impair our ability to operate our business or require us to change our business strategy to accommodate the repayment of our debt. Our ability to operate our business is limited by certain agreements governing our debt, including restrictions on the use of the loan proceeds, operational and financial covenants, and restrictions on additional indebtedness. If we are unable to comply with the financial covenants or other terms of our debt agreements, we may become subject to cross-default or cross-acceleration provisions that could result in our debt being declared immediately due and payable, which could prolong the substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern.
We completed municipal bond financings in July 2022 and August 2022 that raised gross proceeds in the aggregate of $160.0 million. As of December 31, 2023, we had $211.4 million of total debt outstanding. In connection with such bond financings, we have entered into various loan agreements, which contain certain financial covenants, that require, among other things, that we operate in a manner and to the extent permitted by applicable law, to produce sufficient gross revenues so as to be at all relevant times in compliance with the terms of such covenants, including that we maintain (i) beginning with the fiscal quarter ending December 31, 2023, a minimum debt service coverage ratio (generally calculated as the aggregate amount of our total gross revenues, minus operating expenses, plus interest, depreciation and amortization expense, for any period, over our maximum annual debt service requirements, as determined under such loan agreement) that exceeds 1.25x and (ii) beginning with the fiscal quarter ending September 30, 2022, a minimum liquidity of not less than $8.0 million in the form of unrestricted cash and cash equivalents, plus liquid investments and unrestricted marketable securities at all times.
Subject to the terms of the loan agreements, in the event we are unable to comply with the terms of the financial covenants, we may be required (among other potential remedial actions) to engage an independent consultant to review, analyze and make recommendations with respect to our operations or in some instances, this could result in an event of default and/or the acceleration of our debt obligations under the loan agreements. In addition, the acceleration of our debt obligations may in some instances (as set forth in our Amended and Restated Certificate of Incorporation (our “Amended and Restated Charter”)) result in an increase in the dividend rate of the shares of Preferred Stock that have the rights, powers, designations, preferences, and qualification, limitations and restrictions set forth in Section 4.5 of the Amended and Restated Charter (“Series A Preferred Stock”) of 2.00% per annum from the dividend rate otherwise in effect with respect to the Series A Preferred Stock.
The Company is not in compliance with the debt service coverage ratio covenant as of December 31, 2023 and management anticipates the Company to continue to not be in compliance with the debt service coverage ratio covenant at future quarterly measurement periods during the next 12 months, primarily attributable to the seasonal nature of our business and a less intense 2023 wildfire season. Although the Company is in compliance with the $8.0 million minimum liquidity requirement as of December 31, 2023, based on projected cash use, management anticipates that without additional cash funding the Company will not have sufficient cash on hand to comply with the minimum liquidity covenant or to fund operations, including $18.4 million of required interest payments associated with the Series 2022 Bonds, within the next 12 months, or until the Company begins to collect cash from its seasonal firefighting operations in 2024.
The agreements for the Gallatin municipal bond issuances by Bridger Aerospace Group Holdings, LLC totaling $160.0 million of gross proceeds that closed in July and August 2022 (the “Series 2022 Bonds”) provide that, with regard to covenant violations, other than non-payment of principal or interest, no event of default shall be deemed to have occurred so long as a reasonable course of action to remedy a violation commences within 30 days of written notice of non-compliance from the trustee and management diligently prosecutes the remediation plan to completion.
Management consulted with bond counsel on the impact of covenant violations and proactively developed a cost reduction plan, and began implementing the plan in November 2023, to help remedy the anticipated covenant breaches in 2024. However, this plan is in progress and there is no assurance that management will be able diligently prosecute the remediation plan to completion. The uncertainty regarding the company’s ability to diligently prosecute the remediation plan to completion and the potential impact on the bonds maturity as a result of the anticipated debt covenant violations at subsequent compliance dates or failure to make required interest payments, could result in the Series 2022 Bonds becoming immediately due and payable, which raises substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern as of the date our financial statements are issued.
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As further described under the section of this Annual Report on Form 10-K entitled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Indebtedness”, we have also entered into various term loan agreements and other long-term debt to fund the purchase of additional aircraft and finance the construction of aircraft hangars. Under the terms of such agreements, we are subject to certain financial covenants including, a debt service coverage ratio, current assets to liabilities ratio and senior leverage ratio. As of December 31, 2021 and September 30, 2022, we were in violation of the current assets to liabilities and senior leverage ratios requirements, respectively, under the agreements of our credit facilities with Rocky Mountain Bank. On both occasions, Rocky Mountain Bank agreed to waive the violation of such covenants and not enforce its rights and remedies from the resulting events of default under such credit facilities. Additionally, we were considered in violation of a senior leverage ratio requirement as of June 30, 2023. The calculation for this Rocky Mountain Bank covenant based on quarterly financials is a violation for only June 30, 2023. The acceleration of the obligation has been waived for such quarter. The Company is in compliance with such financial covenants as of December 31, 2023. However, no assurance can be provided that we will be able to satisfy such financial covenants in future periods or that we will be able to obtain a waiver from our lenders in the event of non-compliance. A breach of any of these covenants or the occurrence of other events specified in the agreements or related debt documents could result in an event of default under the same and give rise to the lenders’ right to accelerate our debt obligations thereunder and pursue other remedial actions under our credit facilities and/or trigger a cross-default under our other debt agreements, including our Series 2022 Bonds.
Subject to the limits contained in some of the agreements governing our outstanding debt, we may incur additional debt in the future. Our maintenance of higher levels of indebtedness could have adverse consequences including impairing our ability to obtain additional debt and/or equity financing in the future.
Our level of debt places significant demands on our cash resources, which could:
make it more difficult to satisfy our outstanding debt obligations;
require us to dedicate a substantial portion of our cash for payments related to our debt, reducing the amount of cash flow available for working capital, capital expenditures, entitlement of our real estate assets, contributions to our tax-qualified pension plan, and other general corporate purposes;
make it more difficult for us to satisfy certain financial tests and ratios under our loan or debt agreements, requiring us to seek waivers from lenders to not enforce their rights and remedies under the applicable agreements;
limit our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in the industries in which we compete;
place us at a competitive disadvantage with respect to our competitors, some of which have lower debt service obligations and greater financial resources than we do;
limit our ability to borrow additional funds;
limit our ability to expand our operations through acquisitions; and
increase our vulnerability to general adverse economic and industry conditions if we are unable to generate sufficient cash flow to service our debt and fund our operating costs, our liquidity may be adversely affected.
There are no assurances that we will maintain a level of liquidity sufficient to permit us to pay the principal, premium and interest on our indebtedness. In addition to competitive conditions in the industry in which we operate, our financial condition and operating performance are also subject to prevailing economic conditions and certain financial, business and other factors beyond our control.
We do not expect to declare any dividends in the foreseeable future.
We intend to retain future earnings, if any, for future operations and expansion and there are no current plans to pay any cash dividends for the foreseeable future. The declaration, amount, and payment of any future dividends on shares of our common stock will be at the sole discretion of our Board of Directors (the “Board”). The Board may take into account general and economic conditions, our financial condition and results of operations, our available cash and current and anticipated cash needs, capital requirements, contractual, legal, tax, and regulatory restrictions, implications on the payment of dividends by us to our stockholders or by our subsidiaries to us, and such other factors as the Board may deem relevant. As a result, you may not receive any return on an investment in our common stock unless you sell our common stock for a price greater than that which you paid for it.
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We may in the future invest significant resources in developing new offerings and exploring the application of our technologies for other uses and those opportunities may never materialize.
While our primary focus for the foreseeable future will be on our aerial firefighting services, we may invest significant resources in developing new technologies, services, products and offerings. However, we may not realize the expected benefits of these investments, and these anticipated technologies are unproven and these products or technologies may never materialize or be commercialized in a way that would allow us to generate ancillary revenue streams. Relatedly, if such technologies become viable offerings in the future, we may be subject to competition from our competitors.
Such research and development initiatives may also have a high degree of risk and involve unproven business strategies and technologies with which we have limited operating or development experience. They may involve claims and liabilities (including, but not limited to, personal injury claims), expenses, regulatory challenges and other risks that we may not be able to anticipate. There can be no assurance that consumer demand for such initiatives will exist or be sustained at the levels that we anticipate, or that any of these initiatives will gain sufficient traction or market acceptance to generate sufficient revenue to offset any new expenses or liabilities associated with these new investments. Further, any such research and development efforts could distract management from current operations and would divert capital and other resources from our more established offerings and technologies. Even if we were to be successful in developing new products, services, offerings or technologies, regulatory authorities may subject us to new rules or restrictions in response to our innovations that may increase our expenses or prevent us from successfully commercializing new products, services, offerings or technologies.
Our variable interest entities (or “VIEs”) may subject us to potential conflicts of interest, and such arrangements may not be as effective as direct ownership with respect to our relationships with the VIEs, which could have a material adverse effect on our ability to effectively control the VIEs and receive economic benefits from them.
We historically had four VIEs, two of which have been consolidated in Bridger’s financial statements: Northern Fire Management Services, LLC (“NFMS, LLC”) and Mountain Air, LLC (“MA, LLC”). NFMS, LLC is owned 50% by Bridger Aerospace Group, LLC (“BAG, LLC”), one of our wholly-owned subsidiaries, and 50% by a former employee of BAG, LLC, who is a Canadian citizen. We assisted in designing and organizing NFMS, LLC with a business purpose of employing Canadian aviation professionals for our business. We have a master services agreement with NFMS, LLC and Bridger Air Tanker, LLC, our wholly-owned subsidiary, to transfer all annual expenses incurred to us in exchange for the Canadian employees to support our water scooper aircraft. MA, LLC was a VIE for 2021, but subsequent to its acquisition on November 7, 2022 for $1.00, it is now a wholly-owned subsidiary.
On November 17, 2023, we entered into a series of agreements for the formation of MAB Funding, LLC (“MAB”) a joint venture entity owned by a fund for which Marathon Asset Management, L.P. acts as investment manager (“Marathon”), a fund for which Avenue Sustainable Solutions Fund, L.P. acts as investment manager (“Avenue”), and the Company that was created for the purpose of purchasing four Canadair CL-215T Amphibious Aircraft originally awarded to our wholly-owned subsidiary, Bridger Aerospace Europe, S.L.U. (“BAE”), in September 2023 via a public tender process from the Government of Spain for €40.3 million. Under the terms of the agreements, Marathon made capital contributions totaling $26.5 million in exchange for 26,488 voting Class A Units of MAB, Avenue made capital contributions totaling $13.0 million in exchange for 13,031 voting Class A Units of MAB, and the Company agreed to sell the entire outstanding equity interest in BAE to MAB and purchase $4.0 million of non-voting Class B units of MAB.
We also entered into a services agreement with MAB whereby we will manage the return to service upgrades of the Spanish Scoopers through our wholly-owned Spanish subsidiary, Albacete Aero, S.L., while they are owned and funded by MAB. The service agreement also provides that we have the right, but not the obligation, to acquire each Spanish Scooper as it is ready to be contracted and returned to service. The Company assessed both MAB and BAE for variable interest entity accounting under ASC 810-10-15 and determined that MAB is a voting interest entity and BAE is a variable interest entity. However, neither entity is consolidated in the consolidated financial statements as the Company does not have a controlling financial interest in MAB and the Company is not the primary beneficiary of BAE.
The contractual arrangements we have with the VIEs may not be as effective as direct ownership in respect of our relationship with the VIE. For example, the VIE and its shareholders could breach their contractual arrangements with us by, among other things, failing to conduct their operations in an acceptable manner or taking other actions that are detrimental to our interests. If we had direct ownership of the VIE, we would be able to exercise our rights as a shareholder to effect changes in the board of directors of the VIE, which in turn could implement changes, subject to any applicable fiduciary obligations, at the management and operational level. However, under the agreements with our VIEs, we rely on the performance by the VIE and its shareholders of their obligations under the contracts to exercise control over the VIE. The shareholders of the consolidated VIE may not act in the best interests of our company or may not perform their obligations under these contracts. Such risks exist throughout the period in which we intend to operate certain portions of our business through the contractual arrangements with the VIE.
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As of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, we are not aware of any conflicts between the shareholders of the VIE and us. However, the shareholders of the VIE may have actual or potential conflicts of interest with us in the future. These shareholders may refuse to sign or breach, or cause the VIE to breach, or refuse to renew, the existing contractual arrangements we have with them and the VIE, which would have a material adverse effect on our ability to effectively control the VIE and receive economic benefits from it. For example, the shareholders may be able to cause our agreements with the VIE to be performed in a manner adverse to us by, among other things, failing to remit payments due under the contractual arrangements to us on a timely basis. We cannot assure you that when conflicts of interest arise any or all of these shareholders will act in the best interests of our company or such conflicts will be resolved in our favor. Currently, we do not have any arrangements to address potential conflicts of interest between these shareholders and our company. If we cannot resolve any conflict of interest or dispute between us and these shareholders, we would have to rely on legal proceedings to enforce such arrangements, which could result in disruption of our business, require us to incur substantial costs and expend additional resources, and subject us to substantial uncertainty as to the outcome of any such legal proceedings.
Our results of operations may be adversely affected by other-than-temporary impairment charges related to our marketable securities.
We make investments in marketable securities classified as available-for-sale debt securities, consisting of commercial paper, corporate bonds and notes, and government securities. As of December 31, 2023 and 2022, we had $1.0 million and $55.0 million, respectively, of investments in debt securities classified as available-for-sale with short-term maturities of less than one year and carried at fair value. We are exposed to the risk that the issuers of these debt securities may experience significant deterioration in credit quality which could impact the market value of such issuer’s securities. We periodically evaluate our debt securities to determine if market value declines are other-than-temporary. If a decline is determined to be other-than-temporary, the credit related portion of the impairment would be recognized as an adjustment to income.
Early-Stage Company Risks
Our liquidity position raises substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern.
The Company has an operating loss, net loss and negative operating cash flows for the year ended December 31, 2023, and the Company is not in compliance, or is projected to not be in compliance, with certain financial covenants associated with the Series 2022 Bonds during the next 12 months. Additionally, based on projected cash use, management anticipates that without additional cash funding the Company will not have sufficient cash on hand to achieve compliance or to fund operations within the next 12 months, until the Company begins to collect cash from its seasonal firefighting operations in 2024.
Management intends to improve the Company’s near-term cash position through a combination of cost reduction measures and the raising of funds through a number of potential avenues, including additional sales of our common stock through our at-the-market offering and issuing additional shares of common stock pursuant to our shelf registration statement. These sources of additional working capital are not currently assured, and consequently do not sufficiently mitigate the risks and uncertainties disclosed above. Our ability to raise additional funds will depend on, among other factors, financial, economic and market conditions, many of which are outside of our control and there can be no assurance that we will be able to obtain additional funding on satisfactory terms or at all.
Current and anticipated noncompliance with financial covenants and uncertainty regarding the Company’s ability to diligently prosecute the cost reduction plan and to raise additional cash funding raise substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern within 12 months following the issuance date of the consolidated financial statements as of and for the period ended December 31, 2023.
We have incurred significant losses since inception, and we may not be able to achieve, maintain or increase profitability or positive cash flow.
We have incurred significant losses since inception. While we currently generate revenue from our aerial firefighting services, we are not currently profitable, and it is difficult for us to predict our future operating results. As a result, our losses may be larger than anticipated, and we may not be able to reach profitability in the foreseeable future. Further, our future growth is heavily dependent upon the necessity for our services.
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The requirements of being a public company may strain our resources, divert our management’s attention and affect our ability to attract and retain additional executive management and qualified board members.
Prior to January 2023, we were not subject to the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”), the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (the “Sarbanes-Oxley Act”), the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, or the listing requirements of Nasdaq. Compliance with these rules and regulations has increased, and will continue to increase, our legal and financial compliance costs, make some activities more difficult, time-consuming, or costly, and increase demand on our systems and resources, particularly after we are no longer an emerging growth company. The Exchange Act requires, among other things, that we file annual, quarterly, and current reports with respect to our business and operating results. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires, among other things, that we maintain effective disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting. In order to maintain and improve our disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting to meet this standard, significant resources and management oversight have been and may in the future be required. As a result, management’s attention may be diverted from other business concerns, which could adversely affect our business and operating results. We may need to hire more employees in the future or engage outside consultants, which would increase our costs and expenses.
In addition, changing laws, regulations, and standards relating to corporate governance and public disclosure are creating uncertainty for public companies, increasing legal and financial compliance costs, and making some activities more time consuming. These laws, regulations, and standards are subject to varying interpretations, in many cases due to their lack of specificity, and, as a result, their application in practice may evolve or otherwise change over time as new guidance is provided by regulatory and governing bodies. This could result in continuing uncertainty regarding compliance matters and higher costs necessitated by ongoing revisions to disclosure and governance practices. We intend to invest resources to comply with evolving laws, regulations, and standards (or changing interpretations of them), and this investment may result in increased selling, general and administrative expenses and a diversion of management’s time and attention from revenue-generating activities to compliance activities. If our efforts to comply with new laws, regulations, and standards differ from the activities intended by regulatory or governing bodies due to ambiguities related to their application and practice, regulatory authorities may initiate legal proceedings against us, and our business may be adversely affected. As a public company, we have also had to incur increased expenses in order to obtain director and officer liability insurance, and we may be required to accept reduced coverage or incur substantially higher costs to maintain the same or similar coverage or obtain coverage in the future. These factors could also make it more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified members of our board of directors, particularly to serve on our audit committee, compensation committee, and nominating and governance committee, and qualified executive officers.
As a result of disclosure of information in the filings required of a public company, our business and financial condition is more visible, which may result in threatened or actual litigation, including by competitors. If such claims are successful, our business and operating results could be adversely affected, and even if the claims do not result in litigation or are resolved in our favor, these claims, and the time and resources necessary to resolve them, could divert the resources of our management and adversely affect our business and operating results. In addition, as a result of our disclosure obligations as a public company, we have reduced flexibility and are under pressure to focus on short-term results, which may adversely affect our ability to achieve long-term profitability.
If we do not develop and implement all required accounting practices and policies, we may be unable to provide the financial information required of a U.S. publicly traded company in a timely and reliable manner.
Prior to January 2023, we were a privately held company, and we were not required to adopt all of the financial reporting and disclosure procedures and controls required of a U.S. publicly traded company. The implementation of all required accounting practices and policies and the hiring of additional financial staff has increased and may continue to increase our operating costs and requires our management to devote significant time and resources to such implementation. If we fail to develop and maintain effective internal controls and procedures and disclosure procedures and controls, we may be unable to provide financial information and required SEC reports that are timely and reliable. Any such delays or deficiencies could harm us, including by limiting our ability to obtain financing, either in the public capital markets or from private sources and damaging our reputation, which in either cause could impede our ability to implement our growth strategy. In addition, any such delays or deficiencies could result in our failure to meet the requirements for continued listing of our Common Stock on Nasdaq.
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The Series 2022 Bonds were marketed on the basis of our compliance with certain green and social bond principles. We may not continue to satisfy such principles and we may be unable to market bonds under such principles in the future.
We have publicly advertised, and the Series 2022 Bonds were marketed on the basis of, our compliance with the core components of International Capital Market Association (ICMA) Green Bond Principles and Social Bond Principles. There is no assurance that the eligible projects to which we allocate proceeds from such Series 2022 Bonds will satisfy, or continue to satisfy, investor criteria and expectations regarding environmental impact and sustainability performance, and no assurance is given that the use or allocation will satisfy present or future investor expectations or requirements, voluntary taxonomies or standards regarding any investment criteria or guidelines with which investors or their investments are required to comply, whether by any present or future applicable laws or regulations, by their own governing rules or investment portfolio mandates, ratings criteria, voluntary taxonomies or standards or other independent expectations. As a result, there may be impacts of failing to satisfy bond conditions under the Series 2022 Bonds, and we may be unable to market future bonds, which may result in increased financing costs for us.
Pursuant to the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012 (the “JOBS Act”), our independent registered public accounting firm will not be required to attest to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act for so long as we are an “emerging growth company.”
A company’s internal control over financial reporting is a process designed by, or under the supervision of, that company’s principal executive and principal financial officers, or persons performing similar functions, and influenced by that company’s board of directors, management and other personnel, to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”).
Prior to January 2023, the Company was not required to evaluate our internal control over financial reporting in a manner that meets the standards of publicly traded companies required by Section 404(a) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. We are now required to adhere to these SEC rules, which will require management to certify financial and other information in our quarterly and annual reports and provide an annual management report on the effectiveness of internal controls over financial reporting beginning for the year ending December 31, 2023. Additionally, once we are no longer an emerging growth company, if we are an “accelerated filer” or a “large accelerated filer” (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act), then we will be required to comply with the independent registered public accounting firm attestation requirement on our internal controls over financial reporting. If we are unable to establish or maintain appropriate internal control over financial reporting or implement these additional requirements in a timely manner or with adequate compliance, it could result in material misstatements in our consolidated financial statements, failure to meet our reporting obligations on a timely basis, increases in compliance costs, and subject us to adverse regulatory consequences, all of which may adversely affect investor confidence in, and the value of, our securities. Furthermore, if some investors find our securities less attractive as a result of the exemptions available us as an emerging growth company, there may be a less active trading market for our securities (assuming a market develops), and the trading price of our securities may be more volatile than that of an otherwise comparable company that does not avail itself of the same or similar exemptions.
We have identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, which we are in the process of, and are focused on, remediating. If we are unable to maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting, we may not be able to accurately report our financial results in a timely manner, which may adversely affect investor confidence in us and materially and adversely affect our business and operating results.
A material weakness is a deficiency or combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of our annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis.
We have identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, which we are in the process of, and are focused on, remediating. The first material weakness is related to properly accounting for complex transactions within our financial statement closing and reporting process. The second material weakness arises from our failure to design and maintain effective IT general controls over the IT systems used within the processing of key financial transactions. Specifically, we did not design and maintain user access controls to ensure appropriate segregation of duties and that adequately restrict user and privileged access to financial applications, programs, and data to appropriate company personnel. Additionally, we identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting related to the period end account reconciliation review and entity level financial statement review controls which did not operate within a sufficient level of precision.
We have begun the process of, and are focused on, designing and implementing effective internal controls measures to improve our internal control over financial reporting and remediate the material weaknesses. Future remediation of the
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material weaknesses is subject to ongoing management evaluation and will require validation and testing of the design and operating effectiveness of internal controls over a sustained period of financial reporting cycles.
Although we plan to complete this remediation process as quickly as possible, we are unable, at this time, to estimate how long it will take, and our efforts may not be successful in remediating the identified material weaknesses. In addition, even if we are successful in strengthening our controls and procedures, we can give no assurances that in the future such controls and procedures will be adequate to prevent or identify errors or irregularities or to facilitate the fair preparation and presentation of our consolidated financial statements. Any failure to design or maintain effective internal controls over financial reporting or any difficulties encountered in their implementation or improvement could increase compliance costs, negatively impact share trading prices, or otherwise harm our operating results or cause us to fail to meet our reporting obligations.
Risks Related to the Ownership of Our Securities
The price of our Common Stock and Warrants are likely to be highly volatile, and you may lose some or all of your investment.
The price of our Common Stock and Warrants may fluctuate significantly due to a number of factors, some of which may be beyond our control, including those factors discussed in this “Risk Factors” section and many others, such as:
actual or anticipated fluctuations in our financial condition and operating results, including fluctuations in our quarterly and annual results;
developments involving our competitors;
changes in laws and regulations affecting our business;
variations in our operating performance and the performance of our competitors in general;
the public’s reaction to our press releases, our other public announcements and our filings with the SEC;
additions and departures of key personnel;
announcements of significant acquisitions, strategic partnerships, joint ventures or capital commitments by us or our competitors;
our failure to meet the estimates and projections of the investment community or that we may otherwise provide to the public;
publication of research reports about us or our industry, or positive or negative recommendations or withdrawal of research coverage by securities analysts;
changes in the market valuations of similar companies;
overall performance of the equity markets;
sales of our Common Stock and Warrants by us or our stockholders in the future;
trading volume of our Common Stock and Warrants;
significant lawsuits, including shareholder litigation;
failure to comply with the requirements of Nasdaq;
the impact of any natural disasters or public health emergencies;
general economic, industry and market conditions other events or factors, many of which are beyond our control; and
changes in accounting standards, policies, guidelines, interpretations or principles.
These market and industry factors may materially reduce the market price of our Common Stock and our Warrants regardless of our operating performance.
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Our Common Stock is subject to restrictions on ownership by non-U.S. citizens, which could require divestiture by non-U.S. citizen stockholders and could have a negative impact on the transferability of our common stock, its liquidity and market value, and such restrictions may deter a potential change of control transaction.
Under our Amended and Restated Charter and our Amended and Restated Bylaws, we have limited the ownership of non-U.S. citizens to 24.9% of the aggregate votes of all outstanding equity securities of our company or 49.0% of the aggregate number of outstanding equities securities in compliance with the regulations set forth by the FAA and the DOT. As a result, if we approach these limits, non-U.S. citizen demand for our equity securities may be reduced, and the price of our Common Stock may suffer.
We may issue additional shares of our Common Stock or other equity securities, which would dilute your ownership interest in us and may depress the market price of our Common Stock.
We may issue additional shares of our Common Stock or other equity securities in the future in connection with, among other things, the proposed sale of Common Stock (the “Shelf Registration”), future acquisitions, repayment of outstanding indebtedness or grants under our Bridger Aerospace Group Holdings, Inc. 2023 Omnibus Incentive Plan and the Bridger Aerospace Group Holdings, Inc. 2023 Employee Stock Purchase Plan without stockholder approval in a number of circumstances. Our issuance of additional shares of our Common Stock or other equity securities could have one or more of the following effects:
our existing stockholders’ proportionate ownership interest in us will decrease;
the amount of cash available per share, including for payment of dividends in the future, may decrease;
the relative voting strength of each previously outstanding share of our Common Stock may be diminished; and
the market price of our Common Stock may decline.
We are an “emerging growth company” and a “smaller reporting company” within the meaning of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”) and if we take advantage of certain exemptions from disclosure requirements available to “emerging growth companies” or “smaller reporting companies,” this could make our securities less attractive to investors and may make it more difficult to compare our performance with other public companies.
We are an “emerging growth company” within the meaning of the Securities Act, as modified by the JOBS Act, and we may take advantage of certain exemptions from various reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not “emerging growth companies” including, but not limited to, not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404, reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements, and exemptions from the requirements of holding a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved. As a result, our stockholders may not have access to certain information they may deem important. We could be an emerging growth company for up to five years, although circumstances could cause us to lose that status earlier, including if the market value of our common stock held by non-affiliates exceeds $700.0 million as of the end of any second quarter of a fiscal year, in which case we would no longer be an emerging growth company as of the last day of such fiscal year. We cannot predict whether investors will find our securities less attractive because we will rely on these exemptions. If some investors find our securities less attractive as a result of our reliance on these exemptions, the trading prices of our securities may be lower than they otherwise would be, there may be a less active trading market for our securities and the trading prices of our securities may be more volatile.
Further, Section 102(b)(1) of the JOBS Act exempts “emerging growth companies” from being required to comply with new or revised financial accounting standards until private companies (that is, those that have not had a registration statement under the Securities Act declared effective or do not have a class of securities registered under the Exchange Act) are required to comply with the new or revised financial accounting standards. The JOBS Act provides that a company can elect to opt out of the extended transition period and comply with the requirements that apply to “non-emerging growth companies” but any such election to opt out is irrevocable. We have elected not to opt out of such extended transition period, which means that when a standard is issued or revised and it has different application dates for public or private companies, we, as an “emerging growth company”, can adopt the new or revised standard at the time private companies adopt the new or revised standard. This may make comparison of our financial statements with another public company that is not an “emerging growth company” or is an “emerging growth company” which has opted out of using the extended transition period difficult or impossible because of the potential differences in accounting standards used.
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Additionally, we are a “smaller reporting company” as defined in Item 10(f)(1) of Regulation S-K. Smaller reporting companies may take advantage of certain reduced disclosure obligations, including, among other things, providing only two years of audited financial statements. We will remain a smaller reporting company until the last day of the fiscal year in which (i) the market value of our common stock held by non-affiliates is greater than or equal to $250.0 million as of the end of that fiscal year’s second fiscal quarter, and (ii) our annual revenues are greater than or equal to $100.0 million during the last completed fiscal year or the market value of our common stock held by non-affiliates exceeds $700.0 million as of the end of that fiscal year’s second fiscal quarter. To the extent we take advantage of such reduced disclosure obligations, it may also make comparison of our financial statements with other public companies difficult or impossible.
Provisions in our Amended and Restated Charter, our Amended and Restated Bylaws, the Stockholders Agreement and Delaware law could discourage a takeover that stockholders may consider favorable which could limit the price investors might be willing to pay in the future for our Common Stock and may lead to entrenchment of management.
Our Amended and Restated Charter and our Amended and Restated Bylaws contain provisions that could significantly reduce the value of our securities to a potential acquiror or delay or prevent changes in control or changes in our management without the consent of the Board. Such provisions may discourage unsolicited takeover proposals that stockholders may consider to be in their best interests. Our organizational documents include the following:
a classified board of directors with three-year staggered terms, which may delay the ability of stockholders to change the membership of a majority of the Board;
no cumulative voting in the election of directors, which limits the ability of minority stockholders to elect director candidates;
the exclusive right of the Board, unless the Board grants such a right to the holders of any series of preferred stock, to elect a director to fill a vacancy created by the expansion of the Board or the resignation, death or removal of a director, which prevents stockholders from being able to fill vacancies on the Board;
the prohibition on removal of directors without cause;
the ability of the Board to authorize the issuance of shares of preferred stock and to determine the price and other terms of those shares, including preferences and voting rights, without stockholder approval, which could be used to significantly dilute the ownership of a hostile acquiror;
the ability of the Board to alter our Amended and Restated Bylaws without obtaining stockholder approval;
the required approval of at least 66-2/3% of the shares of our Common Stock entitled to vote to amend or repeal our Amended and Restated Bylaws or amend, alter or repeal certain provisions of our Amended and Restated Charter;
a prohibition on stockholder action by written consent, which forces stockholder action to be taken at an annual or special meeting of our stockholders;
an exclusive forum provision providing that the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware will be the exclusive forum for certain actions and proceedings;
the requirement that a special meeting of stockholders may be called only by the Board, the chair of the Board, the chief executive officer or the president, which may delay the ability of our stockholders to force consideration of a proposal or to take action, including the removal of directors; and
advance notice procedures that stockholders must comply with in order to nominate candidates to the Board or to propose matters to be acted upon at a stockholders’ meeting, which may discourage or deter a potential acquiror from conducting a solicitation of proxies to elect the acquiror’s own slate of directors or otherwise attempting to obtain control of the company.
We are not subject to the anti-takeover provisions contained in Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law. However, we may not engage in a business combination with any holder of 15% or more of our capital stock unless the holder has held the stock for three years or, among other exceptions, the Board has approved the transaction.
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Additionally, the agreement, dated January 24, 2023 (the “Stockholders Agreement”), by and among the Company, the former direct and indirect equityholders of Bridger Element LLC and the equityholders of Bridger that are affiliates of Blackstone Inc. (“BTO Stockholders”), permits Blackstone Inc. to nominate up two directors to our board of directors while Blackstone Inc. holds a requisite amount of our Common Stock, which could have the effect of increasing the difficulty of shareholders engaged in a proxy campaign against an incumbent board of directors of the Company. Individually and collectively, these anti-takeover defenses could discourage, delay, or prevent a transaction involving a change in control of the Company. These provisions could also discourage proxy contests and make it more difficult for you and other stockholders to elect directors of your choosing and cause the Company to take corporate actions other than those you desire.
There can be no assurance that we will be able to comply with the continued listing standards of Nasdaq. Nasdaq may delist our securities from trading on its exchange, which could limit investors’ ability to make transactions in our securities and subject us to additional trading restrictions.
Our Common Stock and the Public Warrants are listed on Nasdaq under the symbols “BAER” and “BAERW,” respectively. We are required to demonstrate compliance with Nasdaq’s continued listing requirements in order to continue to maintain the listing of our securities on Nasdaq. If Nasdaq delists our securities from trading on its exchange and we are not able to list our securities on another national securities exchange, our securities could be quoted on an over-the-counter market. If this were to occur, we could face significant adverse consequences, including:
a limited availability of market quotations for our securities;
reduced liquidity for our securities;
a determination that our Common Stock is a “penny stock” which will require brokers trading in our Common Stock to adhere to more stringent rules and possibly result in a reduced level of trading activity in the secondary trading market for our securities;
a limited amount of news and analyst coverage; and
a decreased ability to issue additional securities or obtain additional financing in the future.
The National Securities Markets Improvement Act of 1996, which is a federal statute, prevents or preempts the states from regulating the sale of certain securities, which are referred to as “covered securities.” Because our Common Stock and Public Warrants are listed on Nasdaq, our Common Stock and Public Warrants qualify as covered securities. Although states are preempted from regulating the sale of our securities, the federal statute does allow states to investigate companies if there is a suspicion of fraud. If there is a finding of fraudulent activity, then states can regulate or bar the sale of covered securities in a particular case. Further, if we were no longer listed on Nasdaq, our securities would not be covered securities and we would be subject to regulation in each state in which we offer our securities.
The holders of shares of Series A Preferred Stock have rights, preferences and privileges that are not held by, and are preferential to, the rights of holders of our Common Stock. We may be required, under certain circumstances, to repurchase the outstanding shares of Series A Preferred Stock for cash, and such obligations could adversely affect our liquidity and financial condition.
The Company currently has 315,789.473684 shares of Series A Preferred Stock that are issued and outstanding. The Series A Preferred Stock is convertible non-participating preferred stock, with a conversion price of $11.00 per share and accrues dividends at a rate of 7.0% per annum (payable in cash or in-kind, subject to specified limitations) to but excluding April 25, 2028, 9.0% per annum from (and including) April 25, 2028 to but excluding April 25, 2029, and 11.00% per annum from (and including) April 25, 2029.
In addition, under the terms of the Series A Preferred Stock, we may, at our option, redeem all or any portion of the outstanding shares of Preferred Stock under certain circumstances any time after April 25, 2027, and we must redeem the shares by on or before April 25, 2032. Upon certain fundamental changes to us and our ownership structure, the holders of Series A Preferred Stock may require us to redeem their shares of Series A Preferred Stock. The redemption price is generally equal to original purchase price of the Series A Preferred Stock plus all accrued and unpaid dividends thereon, and in certain circumstances, also includes a “make-whole” payment. Our obligations to the holders of Preferred Stock could also limit our ability to obtain additional financing or increase our borrowing costs, which could have an adverse effect on our financial condition. The preferential rights could also result in divergent interests between the holders of the Series A Preferred Stock and our common stockholders. If we elect to redeem all or a portion of the Series A Preferred Stock, our liquidity, financial condition, and amount of cash available for working capital, capital expenditures, growth opportunities, acquisitions, and other general corporate purposes would be adversely affected.
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The Series A Preferred Stock may be converted at any time at the option of the holder into shares of our Common Stock. The conversion price of the Series A Preferred Stock is subject to customary anti-dilution adjustments, including in the event of any stock split, stock dividend, recapitalization or similar event. Adjustments to the conversion price could dilute the ownership interest of our common stockholders. Any conversion of the Series A Preferred Stock may significantly dilute our common stockholders and adversely affect both our net income per share and the market price of our common stock.
The holders of Series A Preferred Stock have consent rights over the issuance of any equity securities senior or pari passu with the Series A Preferred Stock; any amendments to our Amended and Restated Charter that would adversely affect the rights, preferences or privileges of the Series A Preferred Stock; payment of dividends; mergers, consolidations, or a sale of substantially all of our assets and liquidations, dissolutions and winding up, in certain cases, unless we satisfy certain conditions. Otherwise, holders of the Series A Preferred Stock have no voting rights with respect to the election of directors or other matters submitted for a vote of holders of our Common Stock.
A small number of Bridger’s stockholders could significantly influence its business.
As of December 31, 2023, the executive officers of Bridger and Mr. Matthew Sheehy (a co-founder and director of Bridger and the brother of Mr. Timothy Sheehy, the Bridger CEO), collectively beneficially owned 53.3% of the outstanding Common Stock, assuming no shares of Series A Preferred Stock have been converted. As a result, Bridger has a small number of significant stockholders who could significantly influence its business and operations.
In addition, the BTO Stockholders collectively beneficially owned 19.7% (assuming no shares of Series A Preferred Stock have been converted) of the outstanding Common Stock as of December 31, 2023. The BTO Stockholders may also exercise influence over the business through their rights under the Stockholder Agreement, pursuant to which, among other matters, the BTO stockholders can nominate up to two (2) directors for election to the Board and require at least one director nominated by the BTO Stockholders to be included on any committee of the Board, in each case subject to the terms and conditions set forth in the Stockholders Agreement.
As indicated above, Bridger has a few significant stockholders who own a substantial percentage of the outstanding Common Stock. These few significant stockholders, either individually or acting together, are able to exercise significant influence over matters requiring stockholder approval, including the election of directors and approval of significant corporate transactions, such as a merger or other sale of Bridger or its assets. In addition, Bridger’s executive officers and Mr. Matthew Sheehy collectively beneficially own a majority of the outstanding Common Stock (assuming no shares of Series A Preferred Stock have been converted) and may be able to control the outcome of most matters submitted to Bridger’s stockholders for a stockholder vote, including director elections. This concentration of ownership may make it more difficult for other stockholders to effect substantial changes in Bridger, may have the effect of delaying, preventing or expediting, as the case may be, a change in control of Bridger and may adversely affect the market price of our Common Stock. Further, the possibility that one or more of these significant stockholders may sell all or a large portion of their Common Stock in a short period of time could adversely affect the trading price of our Common Stock. The interests of these significant stockholders may not be in the best interests of all stockholders.
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If our estimates or judgments relating to our critical accounting policies prove to be incorrect or financial reporting standards or interpretations change, our results of operations could be adversely affected.
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the amounts reported in the financial statements and accompanying notes. We will base our estimates on historical experience, known trends and events, and various other factors that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances, as provided in the section of this Annual Report on Form 10-K entitled “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations — Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates.” The results of these estimates form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of assets and liabilities that are not readily apparent from other sources. Significant assumptions and estimates used in preparing our financial statements include: (a) excess and aging aircraft support parts reserves, (b) allowance for doubtful accounts, (c) useful lives of property, plant and equipment, net (d) allocation of the purchase price to the fair value of assets acquired and liabilities assumed, (e) impairment of long-lived assets, goodwill and other intangible assets, (f) disclosure of fair value of financial instruments, (g) variable interest entities, (h) accounting for Series A Preferred Stock, (i) revenue recognition, (j) estimates and assumptions made in determining the carrying values of goodwill, other intangible assets, and contingent consideration, (k) incentive units and (l) the 17,250,000 warrants to purchase a share of Common Stock at an exercise price of $11.50 per share, which were issued in exchange for the 17,250,000 JCIC warrants originally issued as part of the units JCIC issued in the JCIC initial public offering (“Public Warrants”) and the 9,400,000 warrants to purchase a share of Common Stock at an exercise price of $11.50 per share, which were issued in exchange for 9,400,000 JCIC warrants (“Private Placement Warrants”) originally purchased in a private placement by JCIC Sponsor LLC, a Cayman Islands exempted limited partnership (“JCIC Sponsor”). Our results of operations may be adversely affected if our assumptions change or if actual circumstances differ from those in our assumptions, which could cause our results of operations to fall below the expectations of securities analysts and investors, resulting in a decline in the trading price of our Common Stock.
Additionally, we will regularly monitor our compliance with applicable financial reporting standards and review new pronouncements and drafts thereof that are relevant to us. As a result of new standards, changes to existing standards and changes in their interpretation, we might be required to change our accounting policies, alter our operational policies, and implement new or enhance existing systems so that they reflect new or amended financial reporting standards, or we may be required to restate our published financial statements. Such changes to existing standards or changes in their interpretation may have an adverse effect on our reputation, business, financial position, and profit.
If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or reports about us or publish negative reports, then the price of our securities and trading volumes could decline.
The trading market for our Common Stock and Warrants will depend, in part, on the research and reports that securities or industry analysts publish about us. We do not have any control over these analysts. If our financial performance fails to meet analyst estimates or one or more of the analysts who cover us downgrade our Common Stock or change their opinion, then the trading prices of our securities would likely decline. If one or more of these analysts cease coverage of us or fail to regularly publish reports on us, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which could cause the trading prices of our securities or trading volume to decline.
We do not currently intend to pay dividends on our Common Stock, and, consequently, your ability to achieve a return
on your investment will depend on appreciation, if any, in the price of our Common Stock.
We have never declared or paid any cash dividend on our Common Stock. We currently anticipate that we will retain future earnings for the development, operation and expansion of the business and do not anticipate declaring or paying any cash dividends for the foreseeable future. Any return to stockholders will therefore be limited to the appreciation of their stock. There is no guarantee that shares of our Common Stock will appreciate in value or even maintain the price at which stockholders have purchased their shares.
Volatility in our share price could subject us to securities class action litigation.
In the past, securities class action litigation has often been brought against a company following a decline in the market price of its securities. If we face such litigation, it could result in substantial costs and a diversion of management’s attention and resources, which could harm our business.
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Future sales, or the perception of future sales, of a substantial number of shares of our Common Stock and Warrants, by us or our stockholders in the public market may cause the price of our Common Stock and Warrants to decline.
If we or our existing stockholders sell, or indicate an intention to sell, substantial amounts of shares of our Common Stock or Warrants in the public market, the trading price of our Common Stock or Warrants could decline. In addition, the perception that such sales could occur, could harm the prevailing market price of shares of our Common Stock or Warrants. These sales, or the possibility that these sales may occur, also might make it more difficult for us to sell equity securities in the future at a time and at a price that we deem appropriate and to raise additional funds through future offerings of our shares of Common Stock or other securities.
Warrants are exercisable for our Common Stock and if exercised will increase the number of shares eligible for future resale in the public market and result in dilution to our stockholders.
Outstanding Warrants to purchase an aggregate of 26,649,874 shares of our Common Stock became exercisable in accordance with the terms of the Warrant Agreement (as defined below) governing those securities. These Warrants became exercisable commencing on February 23, 2023. The exercise price of these Warrants is $11.50 per share, subject to certain potential future adjustments. To the extent such Warrants are exercised, additional shares of our Common Stock will be issued, which will result in dilution to our holders and increase the number of shares eligible for resale in the public market. Sales of substantial numbers of such shares in the public market or the fact that the Warrants may be exercised could adversely affect the market price of our Common Stock. The price of our Common Stock may remain below $11.50 until expiration of the Warrant exercise period and as such, the Warrants may expire worthless. See the section of this Annual Report on Form 10-K entitled “Risk FactorsThe price of our Common Stock may remain below $11.50 until expiration of the Warrant exercise period, and the Warrants may expire worthless and the terms of the Warrants may be amended in a manner adverse to a holder if holders of at least 65% of (i) the then-outstanding Public Warrants and/or (ii) the then-outstanding Private Placement Warrants, as applicable, approve of such amendment.”
The price of our Common Stock may remain below $11.50 until expiration of the Warrant exercise period, and the Warrants may expire worthless and the terms of the Warrants may be amended in a manner adverse to a holder if holders of at least 65% of (i) the then-outstanding Public Warrants and/or (ii) the then-outstanding Private Placement Warrants, as applicable, approve of such amendment.
As of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, the exercise price for our Warrants is $11.50 per share of Common Stock. On March 15, 2024, the closing price of our Common Stock on Nasdaq was $4.92 per share. For so long as the market price of our Common Stock is below the exercise price of our Warrants ($11.50 per share), our Warrants remain “out-of-the money,” and our Warrant Holders are unlikely to cash exercise their Warrants, resulting in little or no cash proceeds to us. There can be no assurance that our Warrants will be in the money prior to their January 24, 2028 expiration date, and therefore, we may not receive any proceeds from the exercise of Warrants to fund our operations.
In addition, the Warrants were issued in registered form under the Warrant Agreement, dated January 26, 2021, by and between Continental Stock Transfer & Trust Company, as Warrant Agent, and JCIC, which was assumed by the Company by virtue of the Warrant Assumption Agreement, dated January 24, 2023, the Company (such agreement, as assumed, the “Warrant Agreement”). The Warrant Agreement provides that the terms of the Warrants may be amended without the consent of any holder to cure any ambiguity or correct any defective provision but requires the approval by the holders of at least 65% of the then-outstanding Public Warrants to make any other change that affects the interests of the registered holders of Public Warrants. Accordingly, we may amend the terms of the Public Warrants in a manner adverse to a holder if holders of at least 65% of the then-outstanding Public Warrants approve of such amendment.
Although our ability to amend the terms of the Public Warrants with the consent of at least 65% of the then-outstanding Public Warrants is unlimited, examples of such amendments could be amendments to, among other things, increase the exercise price of the Warrants, shorten the exercise period or decrease the number of shares of our Common Stock purchasable upon exercise of a Warrant.
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We may redeem your unexpired Warrants prior to their exercise at a time that is disadvantageous to you, thereby making your Warrants worthless.
We have the ability to redeem the outstanding Warrants at any time and prior to their expiration, at a price of $0.01 per warrant if, among other things, the last reported sale price of our Common Stock for any 20 trading days within a 30-trading day period ending on the third trading day prior to the date on which we send the notice of redemption to the warrant holders (the “Reference Value”) equals or exceeds $18.00 per share (as adjusted for share splits, share dividends, rights issuances, subdivisions, reorganizations, recapitalizations and the like). If and when the Warrants become redeemable by us, we may exercise our redemption right even if we are unable to register or qualify the underlying securities for sale under all applicable state securities laws. As a result, we may redeem the Warrants as set forth above even if the holders are otherwise unable to exercise the Warrants. Redemption of the outstanding Warrants as described above could force you to: (i) exercise your Warrants and pay the exercise price therefor at a time when it may be disadvantageous for you to do so; (ii) sell your Warrants at the then-current market price when you might otherwise wish to hold your Warrants; or (iii) accept the nominal redemption price which, at the time the outstanding Warrants are called for redemption, we expect would be substantially less than the market value of your Warrants.
In addition, we have the ability to redeem the outstanding Warrants at any time and prior to their expiration, at a price of $0.10 per Warrant if, among other things, the Reference Value equals or exceeds $10.00 per share (as adjusted for share splits, share dividends, rights issuances, subdivisions, reorganization, recapitalizations and the like). In such case, the holders will be able to exercise their Warrants prior to the redemption for a number of shares of our Common Stock determined based on the redemption date and the fair market value of our Common Stock.
We have no obligation to notify holders of the Warrants that they have become eligible for redemption. However, pursuant to the Warrant Agreement, in the event we decide to redeem the Warrants, we are required to mail notice of such redemption to the registered warrant holders not less than 30 days prior to the redemption date. The Warrants may be exercised any time after notice of redemption is given and prior to the redemption date. None of the Private Placement Warrants will be redeemable by us so long as they are held by JCIC Sponsor or its permitted transferees; provided the Private Placement Warrants may be redeemed in accordance with the Warrant Agreement (and must be redeemed if the Public Warrants are being redeemed) if the Reference Value equals or exceeds $10.00 per share and does not equal or exceed $18.00 per share.
The exclusive forum clause set forth in the Warrant Agreement may have the effect of limiting an investor’s rights to bring legal action against us and could limit the investor’s ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us.
The Warrant Agreement provides that (i) any action, proceeding or claim against us arising out of or relating in any way to the Warrant Agreement will be brought and enforced in the courts of the State of New York or the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and (ii) we irrevocably submit to such jurisdiction, which jurisdiction will be exclusive. We have waived or will waive any objection to such exclusive jurisdiction and that such courts represent an inconvenient forum. We note, however, that there is uncertainty as to whether a court would enforce these provisions and that investors cannot waive compliance with the federal securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder. Section 22 of the Securities Act creates concurrent jurisdiction for state and federal courts over all suits brought to enforce any duty or liability created by the Securities Act or the rules and regulations thereunder.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, these provisions of the Warrant Agreement will not apply to suits brought to enforce any liability or duty created by the Exchange Act or any other claim for which the federal district courts of the United States of America are the sole and exclusive forum. Section 27 of the Exchange Act creates exclusive federal jurisdiction over all suits brought to enforce any duty or liability created by the Exchange Act or the rules and regulations thereunder. Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring any interest in any of the Warrants shall be deemed to have notice of and to have consented to the forum provisions in the Warrant Agreement. If any action, the subject matter of which is within the scope of the forum provisions of the Warrant Agreement, is filed in a court other than a court of the State of New York or the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (a “foreign action”) in the name of any holder of the Warrants such holder shall be deemed to have consented to: (x) the personal jurisdiction of the state and federal courts located within the State of New York or the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in connection with any action brought in any such court to enforce the forum provisions (an “enforcement action”), and (y) having service of process made upon such warrant holder in any such enforcement action by service upon such warrant holder’s counsel in the foreign action as agent for such warrant holder.
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This choice-of-forum provision may limit a warrant holder’s ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum that it finds favorable for disputes with us, which may discourage such lawsuits. Alternatively, if a court were to find this provision of the Warrant Agreement inapplicable or unenforceable with respect to one or more of the specified types of actions or proceedings, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such matters in other jurisdictions, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations and result in a diversion of the time and resources of our management and board of directors.
General Risk Factors
Net earnings and net assets could be materially affected by an impairment of goodwill.
We have, or in the future may have, a significant amount of goodwill recorded on our consolidated balance sheet. We are required at least annually to test the recoverability of goodwill. The recoverability test of goodwill is based on the current fair value of our identified reporting units. Fair value measurement requires assumptions and estimates of many critical factors, including revenue and market growth, operating cash flows and discount rates. If general market conditions deteriorate in portions of our business, we could experience a significant decline in the fair value of reporting units. This decline could lead to an impairment of all or a significant portion of the goodwill balance, which could materially affect our GAAP net earnings and net assets.
Changes in tax laws or regulations may increase tax uncertainty and adversely affect results of our operations and our effective tax rate.
The Company is subject to taxes in the United States and certain foreign jurisdictions. Due to economic and political conditions, tax rates in various jurisdictions, including the United States, may be subject to change. The Company’s future effective tax rates could be affected by changes in the mix of earnings in countries with differing statutory tax rates, changes in the valuation of deferred tax assets and liabilities and changes in tax laws or their interpretation. In addition, the Company may be or become subject to income tax audits by various tax jurisdictions. For example, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which was recently enacted, imposed a 1% excise tax on certain share repurchases by publicly traded corporations, which may apply to share repurchases by the Company in the future, and imposed a 15% minimum tax on certain large corporations. Although the Company believes its income tax liabilities are reasonably estimated and accounted for in accordance with applicable laws and principles, an adverse resolution by one or more taxing authorities could have a material impact on the results of its operations.
Certain U.S. state tax authorities may assert that we have a state nexus and seek to impose state and local income taxes which could harm our results of operations.
There is a risk that certain state tax authorities where we do not currently file a state income tax return could assert that we are liable for state and local income taxes based upon income or gross receipts allocable to such states. States are becoming increasingly aggressive in asserting a nexus for state income tax purposes. If a state tax authority successfully asserts that our activities give rise to a nexus, we could be subject to state and local taxation, including penalties and interest attributable to prior periods. Such tax assessments, penalties and interest may adversely impact our results of operations.
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Our Amended and Restated Charter requires, to the fullest extent permitted by law, that derivative actions brought in our name, actions against our directors, officers, other employees or stockholders for breach of fiduciary duty and other similar actions may be brought only in the Court of Chancery in the State of Delaware, which may have the effect of discouraging lawsuits against our directors, officers, other employees or stockholders.
Our Amended and Restated Charter provides that, unless a majority of the Board of Directors, acting on behalf of Bridger, consents in writing to the selection of an alternative forum (which consent may be given at any time, including during the pendency of litigation), the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware (or, if the Court of Chancery does not have jurisdiction, another state court located within the State of Delaware or, if no court located within the State of Delaware has jurisdiction, the federal district court for the District of Delaware), to the fullest extent permitted by law, shall be the sole and exclusive forum for (i) any derivative action or proceeding brought on behalf of the Corporation, (ii) any action asserting a claim of breach of a fiduciary duty owed by any current or former director, officer or other employee of the Corporation to the Corporation or the Corporation’s stockholders, (iii) any action asserting a claim against the Corporation or any of its directors, officers or other employees arising pursuant to any provision of the Delaware General Corporation Law (“DGCL”), our Amended and Restated Charter or our Amended and Restated Bylaws (in each case, as may be amended from time to time), (iv) any action asserting a claim against the Corporation or any of its directors, officers or other employees governed by the internal affairs doctrine of the State of Delaware or (v) any other action asserting an “internal corporate claim,” as defined in Section 115 of the DGCL, in all cases subject to the court’s having personal jurisdiction over all indispensable parties named as defendants. Unless a majority of the Board, acting on behalf of the Corporation, consents in writing to the selection of an alternative forum (which consent may be given at any time, including during the pendency of litigation), the federal district courts of the United States of America, to the fullest extent permitted by law, shall be the sole and exclusive forum for the resolution of any action asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act.
We believe these provisions may benefit us by providing increased consistency in the application of Delaware law and federal securities laws by chancellors and judges, as applicable, particularly experienced in resolving corporate disputes, efficient administration of cases on a more expedited schedule relative to other forums and protection against the burdens of multi-forum litigation. Alternatively, if a court were to find these provisions of our Amended and Restated Charter inapplicable or unenforceable with respect to one or more of the specified types of actions or proceedings, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such matters in other jurisdictions, which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations and result in a diversion of the time and resources of our management and Board of Directors. For example, Section 22 of the Securities Act creates concurrent jurisdiction for federal and state courts over all suits brought to enforce any duty or liability created by the Securities Act or the rules and regulations thereunder. Accordingly, there is uncertainty as to whether a court would enforce such a forum selection provision as written in connection with claims arising under the Securities Act.
We may be required to take write-downs or write-offs, restructuring and impairment or other charges that could have a significant negative effect on our financial condition, results of operations and the price of our securities, which could cause you to lose some or all of your investment.
Factors outside of our control may, at any time, arise. As a result of these factors, we may be forced to later write-down or write-off assets, restructure operations, or incur impairment or other charges that could result in reporting losses. Unexpected risks may arise, and previously known risks may materialize. Even though these charges may be non-cash items and therefore not have an immediate impact on our liquidity, we must report charges of this nature which could contribute to negative market perceptions about us or our securities. In addition, charges of this nature may cause us to be unable to obtain future financing on favorable terms or at all.
ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS.
None.
ITEM 1C. CYBERSECURITY.
Risk Management and Strategy
We recognize the importance of assessing, identifying, and managing material risks associated with cybersecurity threats, as defined in Item 106(a) of Regulation S-K, and are integrating them into our overall risk management systems and processes by implementing and maintaining various technical, physical, and organizational safeguards, such as policies, standards, and practices relating to:
risk assessments;
incident detection and response;
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vulnerability management;
internal controls within our IT, Security and other departments;
network security controls;
access controls;
physical security;
asset management;
system monitoring;
employee cybersecurity awareness and training;
phishing tests;
the use of the internet, social media, email and wireless devices;
firewalls and intrusion prevention systems;
endpoint detection and response systems; and
anti-malware functionality.
As part of this process, we engaged external consultants who assessed our internal cybersecurity programs and alignment with applicable practices and standards, such as the Internal Control - Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission framework. We have also retained external service providers to monitor identified risk exposures, provide ongoing recommendations and software tools for their detection and mitigation, as well as evaluating the impact and coordinating the recovery from any incidents or breaches, should they occur.
Our risk management program also assesses third-party risks, and we perform third-party risk management to identify and mitigate risks from third parties such as vendors, suppliers, and other business partners associated with our use of third-party service providers. Cybersecurity risks are evaluated when determining the selection and oversight of service providers when handling and/or processing our employee, business or customer data. Further, in February 2024, we formalized our policy of monitoring third-party cybersecurity risks by requiring its consideration and approval by the IT change control board as a part of vendor selection and solution procurement.
Governance
Cybersecurity is an important part of our risk management processes and an area of focus for our Board and management.
Our Audit Committee is responsible for the oversight of risks from cybersecurity threats. It receives updates on matters of cybersecurity from senior management during regular quarterly meetings and in the interim, if warranted. This includes existing and new cybersecurity risks, how management is addressing and/or mitigating those risks, cybersecurity and data privacy incidents (if any) and key information security initiatives. Our Board members also engage in ad hoc conversations with management on cybersecurity-related news events and discuss any updates to our cybersecurity risk management and strategy programs.
Our cybersecurity risk management and strategy processes are coordinated by our Director of Technology. He maintains the Certified Information Systems Security Professional certification and has eight years of senior leadership experience in defensive cyber security in both the private sector and Department of Defense. He is supported by leaders from our Information Technology, Document Management, and Compliance teams, as well as management’s Disclosure Committee who have extensive work experience in various roles involving information technology, including security, auditing, compliance, systems and programming. They draw on their knowledge of daily information technology operations, ongoing cybersecurity initiatives and various monitoring tools to ultimately report through the Director of Technology and Director of Internal Controls to the Audit Committee on the monitoring, prevention, mitigation, detection and remediation of cybersecurity incidents. In the event the Audit Committee determines that a cybersecurity incident has occurred, the Audit Committee will evaluate whether to escalate the cybersecurity incident to the full Board.
The processes described above have not indicated, as of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, any risks from cybersecurity threats, including as a result of any previous cybersecurity incidents, that we believe have materially affected us in the year ended December 31, 2023 or are reasonably likely to materially affect our company, including its business strategy, results of operations, or financial condition. . For more information on our cybersecurity risks, see the section of this Annual Report on Form 10-K entitled “Risk Factors—We rely on our IT systems to manage numerous aspects of our business. A cyber-based attack of these systems could disrupt our ability to deliver services to our customers and could lead to increased overhead costs, decreased sales, and harm to our reputation.”
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ITEM 2. PROPERTIES.
Our headquarters are located in Belgrade, Montana, and our aircraft fleet resides at the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport. We own three hangars and lease five existing lots at the airport on 20-year and 10-year ground leases.
Our international operations’ headquarters are located in Albacete, Spain. We currently own one hangar and lease one existing lot on a short-term ground lease at the Albacete Airport, where the return to service upgrades for the four Spanish Scoopers are being performed.
ITEM 3. LEGAL PROCEEDINGS.
Information with respect to this item may be found in “Note 17 – Commitments and Contingencies” to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in “Part II - Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, under the caption “Legal Matters” which information is incorporated herein by reference.
ITEM 4. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES.
Not applicable.
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PART II
ITEM 5. MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES.
Market Information
Our Common Stock and Warrants are currently listed on Nasdaq Global Market under the symbols “BAER” and “BAERW,” respectively.
Holders
As of March 15, 2024, there were 24 stockholders of record of our Common Stock and 4 stockholders of record of our Warrants. This figure does not include an estimate of the indeterminate number of “street name” or beneficial holders whose shares may be held of record by brokerage firms and clearing agencies.
Dividend Policy
We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our Common Stock, Series A Preferred Stock or the Warrants to date. Any determination to pay cash dividends or to institute a dividend policy will be at the discretion of the Board and will depend upon a number of factors, including the Company’s results of operations, financial condition, future prospects, contractual restrictions, covenants in the agreements governing current and future indebtedness, industry trends, restrictions imposed by applicable law and other factors the Board deems relevant. We currently intend to retain any future earnings for the development, operation and expansion of the business, and we do not anticipate declaring or paying any cash dividends on our Common Stock for the foreseeable future.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, our holders of the Series A Preferred Stock are entitled to receive dividends to be paid by us twice a year, in cash or, at our election, by increasing the per share liquidation preference for such shares of Series A Preferred Stock (such liquidation preference is equal to the initial issuance price plus all accrued and unpaid dividends, whether or not declared). The dividends on the Series A Preferred Stock accrue daily and are computed on the basis of a 365-day year, at a compounding rate initially anticipated to be 7.00% per annum. Such rate will increase to 9.00% per for the period from (and including) April 25, 2028 to (but excluding) April 25, 2029 and eventually will increase to 11.00% per annum from and after April 25, 2029 and subject to further increase upon the occurrence of certain events. No dividends shall be paid or payable to any other holders of our capital stock unless and until the holders of the Series A Preferred Stock have received cumulative distributions equal to the aggregate liquidation preference of the Series A Preferred Stock. For more information see the section entitled “Preferred Stock – Series A Preferred Stock” of Exhibit 4.3 (“Description of Securities”) to this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Performance Graph
Not applicable.
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
None.
Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities
None.
ITEM 6. [RESERVED]
Not applicable.
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ITEM 7. MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS.
The following discussion and analysis is intended to help you understand our business, financial condition, results of operations, liquidity and capital resources. The discussion should be read together with the historical audited annual consolidated financial statements as of and for the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022, and the related notes thereto, that are included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. This discussion contains forward-looking statements based upon our current expectations, estimates and projections that involve risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements due to, among other considerations, the matters discussed in the sections entitled “Risk Factors” and “Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements.”
BUSINESS OVERVIEW
Bridger provides aerial wildfire surveillance, relief and suppression and aerial firefighting services using next-generation technology and environmentally friendly and sustainable firefighting methods primarily throughout the United States. Our mission is to save lives, property and habitats threatened by wildfires, leveraging our high-quality team, specialized aircraft and innovative use of technology and data. We are meeting an underserved and growing need for next-generation full-service aerial firefighting platforms.
Our portfolio is organized across two core offerings:
Fire Suppression: Consists of deploying specialized Viking CL-415EAF (“Super Scooper”) aircraft to drop large amounts of water quickly and directly on wildfires.
Aerial Surveillance: Consists of providing aerial surveillance via manned (“Air Attack”) aircraft for fire suppression aircraft over an incident and providing tactical coordination with the incident commander.
We manage our operations as a single segment for purposes of assessing performance, making operating decisions and allocating resources.
We have made and will continue to make significant investments in capital expenditures to build and expand our aerial forest fire management technologies. However, we do not expect that our existing cash and cash equivalents provided by equity and debt financing will be sufficient to meet our current working capital and capital expenditure requirements for a period of at least 12 months from the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Refer to the Liquidity and Capital Resources section below and “Note 1 – Organization and Basis of Presentation” of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for additional details on management’s assessment of the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.
The Reverse Recapitalization
On January 24, 2023 we consummated the Reverse Recapitalization. As a result of the Reverse Recapitalization, Legacy Bridger and JCIC each became wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Company, and the JCIC shareholders and the equity holders of Legacy Bridger converted their equity ownership in JCIC and Legacy Bridger, respectively, into equity ownership in the Company. Legacy Bridger has been determined to be the accounting acquirer with respect to the Reverse Recapitalization, which will be accounted for as a reverse recapitalization, with no goodwill or other intangible assets recorded, in accordance with GAAP.
Upon consummation of the Reverse Recapitalization, the most significant change in Legacy Bridger’s future reported financial position and results of operations was a gross decrease in cash and cash equivalents (as compared to Legacy Bridger’s balance sheet at December 31, 2022), of approximately $17.0 million. Total direct and incremental transaction costs of Bridger, JCIC and Legacy Bridger paid at the closing of the Reverse Recapitalization on January 24, 2023 (the “Closing”) were approximately $16.6 million and have been treated as a reduction of the cash proceeds and deducted from our additional paid-in capital.
Public Company Costs
We have become the successor to an SEC-registered and Nasdaq-listed company, which has required, and in the future may require, us to hire additional staff and implement procedures and processes to address public company regulatory requirements and customary practices. We have incurred and expect to incur additional annual expenses for, among other things, directors’ and officers’ liability insurance, director fees and additional internal and external accounting, legal and administrative resources and fees.
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KEY FACTORS AFFECTING OUR RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
We are exposed to certain risks inherent to an aerial firefighting business. These risks are further described in the section entitled “Risk Factors” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Seasonality Due to the North American Fire Season
Our operating results are impacted by seasonality. Climate conditions and other factors that may influence the revenues of our services may vary each season and year. Historically, the demand for our services has been higher in the second and third quarters of each fiscal year due to the timing and duration of the North American fire season. Consequently, revenues, expenses, and operating cash flows from our services are generated mostly in the second and third quarters of our fiscal year. However, the seasonal fluctuations in the need to fight wildfires based upon location and the varying intensity of the fire season have and may continue to lead our operating results to fluctuate significantly from quarter to quarter and year to year.
Weather Conditions and Climate Trends
Our business is highly dependent on the needs of government agencies to surveil and suppress fires. As such, our financial condition and results of operations are significantly affected by the weather, as well as environmental and other factors affecting climate change, which impact the number and severity of fires in any given period. The intensity and duration of the North American fire season is affected by multiple factors, some of which, according to a 2016 article by Climate Central, a nonprofit climate science news organization, are weather patterns including warmer springs and longer summers, lower levels of mountaintop snowpack which lead to drier soils and vegetation and frequency of lightning strikes. Based on the climate change indicators published by the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), these factors have shown year over year increases linked to the effects of climate change and the overall trend in increased temperatures. We believe that rising global temperatures have been, and in the future are expected to be, one factor contributing to increasing rates and severity of wildfires. Historically, our revenue has been higher in the summer season of each fiscal year due to weather patterns which are generally correlated to a higher prevalence of wildfires in North America. Larger wildfires and longer seasons are expected to continue as droughts increase in frequency and duration, according to a 2022 article by the EPA.
However, revenue was lower than the Company initially anticipated for 2023 due to a less intense wildfire season. Per the 2023 National Centers for Environmental Information annual report, approximately 2.6 million acres of U.S. land burned in 2023, 62.4% lower than the 2001-2020 annual average and the total number of wildfires during 2023 was 19.1% lower than the 2001-2020 annual average. Additionally, according to data from the National Interagency Coordination Center, the national wildland fire preparedness level last reached Level 5 in 2021, while reaching only Level 4 in both 2023 and 2022. This decrease in the U.S. national level of wildland fire preparedness in 2022 was partially attributed to the Western United States, which experienced one of the slowest wildfire seasons in recent years due to increased and timely precipitation and cooler temperatures.
Limited Supply of Specialized Aircraft and Replacement and Maintenance Parts
Our results of operations are dependent on sufficient availability of aircraft, raw materials and supplied components provided by a limited number of suppliers. Our reliance on limited suppliers exposes us to volatility in the prices and availability of these materials which may lead to increased costs and delays in operations.
Economic and Market Factors
Our operations, supply chain, partners and suppliers are subject to various global macroeconomic factors. We expect to continue to remain vulnerable to a number of industry-specific and global macroeconomic factors that may cause our actual results of operations to differ from our historical results of operations or current expectations. The factors and trends that we currently believe are or will be most impactful to our results of operations and financial condition include, but are not limited to, the impact on us of significant operational challenges by third parties on which we rely, inflationary pressures, short-term and long-term weather patterns, potential labor and supply chain shortages affecting us and our partners, volatile fuel prices, aircraft delivery delays, and changes in general economic conditions in the markets in which we operate.

Historically, our results of operations have not been materially impacted by other factors. We continue to monitor the potential favorable or unfavorable impacts of these and other factors on our business, operations, financial condition and future results of operations, which are dependent on future developments. Our future results of operations may be subject to volatility and our growth plans may be delayed, particularly in the short term, due to the impact of the above factors and trends. However, we believe that our long-term outlook remains positive due to the increasing demand for our services and our ability to meet those demands consistently, despite adverse market factors. We believe that this expected long-term increase in demand will offset increased costs and that the operational challenges we may experience in the near term can be managed in a manner that will allow us to support increased demand, though we cannot provide any assurances.
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KEY COMPONENTS OF OUR RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
Revenue
Our primary source of revenues is from providing services, which are disaggregated into fire suppression, aerial surveillance and other services. Revenues and growth for our fire suppression and aerial surveillance services are driven by climate trends, specifically the intensity and timing of the North American fire season. Other services primarily consist of extraneous fulfillment of contractual services such as extended availability and mobilizations. Other services also include maintenance services performed externally for third parties.
We charge daily and hourly rates depending upon the type of firefighting service rendered and under which contract the services are performed. The recognition of revenues for our services are primarily split into flight, standby and other revenues. Flight revenue is primarily earned at an hourly rate when the engines of the aircraft are cycled, upon request of the customer. Standby revenue is primarily earned as a daily rate when aircraft are available for use at a fire base, awaiting request from the customer for flight deployment. Other revenue consists of additional contractual items that can be charged to the customer, such as leasing revenues for facilities, as well as maintenance and repair on externally owned aircraft.
Cost of Revenues
Cost of revenues includes costs incurred directly related to flight operations including expenses associated with operating the aircraft on revenue generating contracts. These include labor, depreciation, subscriptions and fees, travel and fuel. Cost of revenues also includes routine aircraft maintenance expenses and repairs, consisting primarily of labor, parts, consumables, travel and subscriptions unique to each airframe.
Selling, General and Administrative Expense
Selling, general and administrative expenses include all costs that are not directly related to satisfaction of customer contracts. Selling, general and administrative expenses include costs for our administrative functions, such as finance, legal, human resources, and IT support, and business development costs that include contract procurement, public relations and business opportunity advancement. These functions include costs for items such as salaries, benefits, stock-based compensation and other personnel-related costs, maintenance and supplies, professional fees for external legal, accounting, and other consulting services, insurance, intangible asset amortization and depreciation expense. Selling, general and administrative expenses also include gains or losses on the disposal of fixed assets.
Interest Expense
Interest expense consists of interest costs related to our Gallatin municipal bond issuances by Legacy Bridger that closed in July and August 2022 (the “Series 2022 Bonds”), our permanent and term loan agreements, the Series C preferred shares of Legacy Bridger (the “Legacy Bridger Series C Preferred Shares”), the Series B preferred shares of Legacy Bridger (the “Legacy Bridger Series B Preferred Shares”), which were fully redeemed prior to Closing, the change in fair value of the freestanding derivative, and the net effect of our interest rate swap. Interest expense also includes amortization of debt issuance costs associated with our loan agreements. Refer to “Liquidity and Capital Resources—Indebtedness” included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for a discussion of our loan commitments.

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RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
Comparison of the Year Ended December 31, 2023 to the Year Ended December 31, 2022
The following table sets forth our Consolidated Statements of Operations information for the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022 and should be reviewed in conjunction with the financial statements and notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
$s in thousandsYear Ended December 31, 2023Year Ended December 31, 2022Period Over
Period
Change ($)
Period Over
Period
Change (%)
Revenues$66,708 $46,388 $20,320 44%
Cost of revenues:
Flight operations24,412 18,762 5,650 30%
Maintenance16,928 15,124 1,804 12%
Total cost of revenues41,340 33,886 7,454 22%
Gross income25,368 12,502 12,866 103%
Selling, general and administrative expense82,863 35,128 47,735 136%
Operating loss(57,495)(22,626)(34,869)154%
Interest expense(23,218)(20,020)(3,198)16%
Other income3,053 521 2,532 486%
Loss before income taxes(77,660)(42,125)(35,535)84%
Income tax benefit302 — 302 n/a
Net loss$(77,358)$(42,125)$(35,233)84%
Revenues
Revenue increased by $20.3 million, or 44%, to $66.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2023, from $46.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2022.
Revenues by service offering for the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022 were as follows:
$s in thousandsYear Ended December 31, 2023Year Ended December 31, 2022Period Over
Period
Change ($)
Period Over
Period
Change (%)
Fire suppression$56,022 $38,845 $17,177 44%
Aerial surveillance9,730 7,216 2,514 35%
Other services956 327 629 192%
Total revenues$66,708 $46,388 $20,320 44%
Fire suppression revenue increased by $17.2 million, or 44%, to $56.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2023, from $38.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2022. The increase was primarily driven by a higher number of aircraft operating for the full 2023 wildfire season compared to the 2022 wildfire season. The increase in fire suppression revenue accounted for 85% of the total increase in revenues for the year ended December 31, 2023.
Aerial surveillance revenue increased by $2.5 million, or 35%, to $9.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2023, from $7.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2022. The increase was primarily driven by the type of aircraft operating during 2023 compared to 2022.
Other services revenue increased by $0.6 million, or 192%, to $1.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2023, from $0.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2022. The increase was primarily due to labor, maintenance and improvements to an aircraft under the ownership of a related party and additional contractually specified items. Refer to “Note 19 – Related Party Transactions” of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for additional details.
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Revenues by type for the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022 were as follows:
$s in thousandsYear Ended December 31, 2023Year Ended December 31, 2022Period Over
Period
Change ($)
Period Over
Period
Change (%)
Flight revenue$34,171 $25,105 $9,066 36%
Standby revenue30,650 20,772 9,878 48%
Other revenue1,887 511 1,376 269%
Total revenues$66,708 $46,388 $20,320 44%
Flight revenue increased by $9.1 million, or 36%, to $34.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2023, from $25.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2022. The increase was primarily driven by a higher number of Super Scooper aircraft flying on deployment for the full 2023 wildfire season compared to the 2022 wildfire season.
Standby revenue increased by $9.9 million, or 48%, to $30.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2023, from $20.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2022. The increase was primarily driven by a higher number of Super Scooper aircraft available for deployment for the full 2023 wildfire season compared to the 2022 wildfire season.
Other revenue increased by $1.4 million, or 269%, to $1.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2023, from $0.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2022. The increase was primarily due to labor, maintenance and improvements to an aircraft under the ownership of a related party and additional contractually specified items. Refer to “Note 19 – Related Party Transactions” of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for additional details.
Revenues by geographic area for the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022 were as follows:
$s in thousandsYear Ended December 31, 2023Year Ended December 31, 2022Period Over
Period
Change ($)
Period Over
Period
Change (%)
United States$49,534 $46,388 $3,146 7%
Canada17,174 — 17,174 n/a
Total revenues$66,708 $46,388 $20,320 44%
United States revenue increased by $3.1 million, or 7%, to $49.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2023, from $46.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2022. The increase was primarily driven by a higher number of aircraft operating during 2023 compared to 2022. The increase in Unites States revenue accounted for 15% of the total increase in revenues for the year ended December 31, 2023.
Canada revenue was $17.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2023 compared to zero for the year ended December 31, 2022. The increase was primarily driven by the result of our first expansion of aerial firefighting operations into Canada in 2023.
Cost of Revenues
Total cost of revenues increased by $7.5 million, or 22%, to $41.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2023, from $33.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2022.
Flight Operations
Flight operations costs increased by $5.7 million, or 30%, to $24.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2023, from $18.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2022. The increase was primarily attributable to an increase in employee labor expenses of $5.0 million and an increase in depreciation expense of $1.5 million, partially offset by a decrease in fuel expense of $0.8 million in 2023 compared to 2022. The increase in employee labor and depreciation was primarily due to an increase in flight hours associated with two additional Super Scooper aircraft placed into service in September 2022 and February 2023, respectively. 2023 employee labor expenses also include higher non-cash stock-based compensation from increased employee equity grants. The decrease in fuel expense is primarily attributable to a decrease in aerial surveillance, training and resource flight hours in 2023 compared to 2022.
Maintenance
Maintenance costs increased by $1.8 million, or 12%, to $16.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2023, from $15.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2022. The increase was primarily attributable to an increase in employee labor expenses of $1.4 million and an increase in other maintenance costs of $0.5 million, primarily attributable to two additional Super Scooper aircraft placed into service in September 2022 and February 2023, respectively.
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Selling, General and Administrative Expense
Selling, general and administrative expense increased by $47.7 million, or 136%, to $82.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2023, from $35.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2022. The increase was primarily attributable to $45.7 million of non-cash stock-based compensation for RSUs issued to management and employees in 2023. The remaining increase was primarily attributable to a $10.7 million increase in business development, insurance, professional services and other expenses associated with operating as a publicly-traded company in 2023 and impairment charges of $2.4 million associated with three of our Twin Commander aircraft and our two Aurora eVTOL Skiron drone aircraft due to our plan to phase out our use of these specific platforms in our aerial surveillance operations. The increase was partially offset by $10.1 million of transaction related bonuses for employees recorded in the third quarter of 2022 in connection with the issuance of the Bridger Series C Preferred Shares, issuance of the Series 2022 Bonds, execution of the Transaction Agreements and initial filing of the proxy statement/prospectus.
Interest Expense
Interest expense increased by $3.2 million, or 16%, to $23.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2023, from $20.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2022. The increase was primarily driven by a full year, or $18.4 million, of interest expense on the Series 2022 Bonds issued in July 2022, partially offset by lower interest expense on the Legacy Bridger Series A-1 and Series A-2 Preferred Shares and Legacy Bridger Series B Preferred Shares which were fully redeemed in August 2022 and April 2022, respectively.
Other Income
Other income increased by $2.5 million, or 486%, to $3.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2023, from $0.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2022. The increase was primarily attributable to a $1.3 million increase in interest income, a $0.7 million decrease in losses on extinguishment of debt and a $0.5 million increase in gains on sales of marketable securities in 2023 compared to 2022.
Income Tax Benefit
Income tax benefit increased to $0.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2023, from zero for the year ended December 31, 2022. The increase was attributable to a discrete benefit generated from the Ignis acquisition during 2023.
NON-GAAP FINANCIAL MEASURES
Although we believe that net income or loss, as determined in accordance with GAAP, is the most appropriate earnings measure, we use EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA as key profitability measures to assess the performance of our business. We believe these measures help illustrate underlying trends in our business and use the measures to establish budgets and operational goals, and communicate internally and externally, in managing our business and evaluating its performance. We also believe these measures help investors compare our operating performance with its results in prior periods in a way that is consistent with how management evaluates such performance.
Each of the profitability measures described below are not recognized under GAAP and do not purport to be an alternative to net income or loss determined in accordance with GAAP as a measure of our performance. Such measures have limitations as analytical tools and should not be considered in isolation or as substitutes for our results as reported under GAAP. EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA exclude items that can have a significant effect on our profit or loss and should, therefore, be used only in conjunction with our GAAP profit or loss for the period. Our management compensates for the limitations of using non-GAAP financial measures by using them to supplement GAAP results to provide a more complete understanding of the factors and trends affecting the business than GAAP results alone. Because not all companies use identical calculations, these measures may not be comparable to other similarly titled measures of other companies.
EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA
EBITDA is a non-GAAP profitability measure that represents net income or loss for the period before the impact of interest expense, income tax expense (benefit) and depreciation and amortization of property, plant and equipment and intangible assets. EBITDA eliminates potential differences in performance caused by variations in capital structures (affecting financing expenses), the cost and age of tangible assets (affecting relative depreciation expense) and the extent to which intangible assets are identifiable (affecting relative amortization expense).
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Adjusted EBITDA is a non-GAAP profitability measure that represents EBITDA before certain items that are considered to hinder comparison of the performance of our businesses on a period-over-period basis or with other businesses. During the periods presented, we exclude from Adjusted EBITDA certain costs that are required to be expensed in accordance with GAAP, including stock-based compensation, business development and integration expenses, offering costs, loss on disposal of fixed assets and non-cash impairment charges, non-cash adjustments to the fair value of earnout consideration, non-cash adjustments to the fair value of Warrants issued in connection with the Reverse Recapitalization, loss on extinguishment of debt, and discretionary bonuses to employees and executives. Our management believes that the inclusion of supplementary adjustments to EBITDA applied in presenting Adjusted EBITDA are appropriate to provide additional information to investors about certain material non-cash items and about unusual items that we do not expect to continue at the same level in the future.
The reconciliation of Net loss, the most directly comparable GAAP measure, to EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA for the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022 is as follows:
($s in thousands)Year Ended December 31, 2023Year Ended December 31, 2022Period Over
Period
Change ($)
Period Over
Period
Change (%)
Net loss$(77,358)$(42,125)$(35,233)84%
Income tax benefit(302)— (302)n/a
Depreciation and amortization11,089 9,091 1,998 22%
Interest expense23,218 20,020 3,198 16%
EBITDA(43,353)(13,014)(30,339)233%
Stock-based compensation1
47,796 47,787 530,967%
Business development & integration expenses2
5,687 954 4,733 496%
Offering costs3
5,773 2,962 2,811 95%
Loss on disposals and non-cash impairment charges4
2,869 1,770 1,099 62%
Change in fair value of earnout consideration5
167 — 167 n/a
Change in fair value of Warrants6
(266)— (266)n/a
Loss on extinguishment of debt7
— 845 (845)n/a
Discretionary bonuses to employees and executives8
— 10,137 (10,137)n/a
Adjusted EBITDA$18,673 $3,663 $15,010 410%
Net loss margin9
(116)%(91)%
Adjusted EBITDA margin9
28 %%
1    Represents stock-based compensation expense associated with employee and non-employee equity awards.
2    Represents expenses related to potential acquisition targets and additional business lines.
3    Represents one-time costs for professional service fees related to the preparation for potential offerings that have been expensed during the period.
4    Represents loss on the disposal of an aging aircraft and non-cash impairment charges on aircraft with projected cash flow losses.
5    Represents the fair value adjustment for earnout consideration issued in connection with the Ignis Acquisition.
6    Represents the fair value adjustment for Warrants issued in connection with the Reverse Recapitalization.
7    Represents loss on extinguishment of debt related to the Series 2021 Bond.
8    Represents one-time discretionary bonuses to certain employees and executives of Bridger in connection with the issuance of the Legacy Bridger Series C Preferred Shares, the issuance of the Series 2022 Bonds, execution of the Reverse Recapitalization transaction agreements and the initial filing of the proxy/statement/prospectus prepared in connection with the Reverse Recapitalization.
9    Net loss margin represents Net loss divided by Total revenue and Adjusted EBITDA margin represents Adjusted EBITDA divided by Total revenue.
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LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RESOURCES
Going Concern
In accordance with Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) Topic 205-40, Going Concern, the Company has evaluated whether there are certain conditions and events, considered in the aggregate, that raise substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern within 12 months after the date that these consolidated financial statements are issued. This evaluation includes considerations related to the covenants contained in the Company’s loan agreements as well as the Company’s liquidity position overall.
For the year ended December 31, 2023, the Company had an operating loss of $57.5 million, net loss of $77.4 million and cash flow used in operating activities of $26.8 million. In addition, as of December 31, 2023, the Company had unrestricted cash and investments of $24.0 million.
As disclosed in detail under the section entitled “Liquidity and Capital Resources—Indebtedness” below, the Company is not in compliance, or is projected to not be in compliance, with certain financial covenants associated with the Series 2022 Bonds during the next 12 months. Additionally, based on projected cash use, management anticipates that without additional cash funding the Company will not have sufficient cash on hand to fund operations within the next 12 months, until the Company begins to collect cash from its seasonal firefighting operations in 2024.
Beginning in November 2023, management has implemented steps to help improve the Company’s near-term cash position through a combination of cost reduction measures and the raising of funds through a number of potential avenues, including additional sales of our common stock through our at-the-market offering and issuing additional shares of common stock pursuant to our shelf registration statement. These sources of additional working capital are not currently assured, and consequently do not sufficiently mitigate the risks and uncertainties disclosed above. Our ability to raise additional funds will depend on, among other factors, financial, economic and market conditions, many of which are outside of our control and there can be no assurance that we will be able to obtain additional funding on satisfactory terms or at all.
Current and anticipated noncompliance with financial covenants and uncertainty regarding the Company’s ability to diligently prosecute the cost reduction plan and to raise additional cash funding raise substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern within 12 months following the issuance date of the consolidated financial statements as of and for the period ended December 31, 2023.

Cash and Marketable Securities
As of December 31, 2023, our principal sources of liquidity were cash and cash equivalents of $23.0 million which were held for working capital purposes and restricted cash of $14.0 million. The restricted cash was procured through a county bond and is accessed for financing capital projects. As of December 31, 2023, the Company had $1.0 million of investments in debt securities classified as available-for-sale with short-term maturities of less than one year and carried at fair value. The Company’s available-for-sale securities investment portfolio is primarily invested in highly rated securities, with the primary objective of minimizing the potential risk of principal loss.
In connection with the Reverse Recapitalization, stockholders owning 34,245,643 JCIC Class A ordinary shares exercised their rights to have those shares redeemed for cash at a redemption price of approximately $10.16 per share, or an aggregate of $347.8 million. Following the payment of redemptions and expenses related to the Trust Account, there was approximately $2.4 million in remaining cash in the Trust Account, which was paid to UBS Securities LLC as a portion of its deferred underwriting fee from the JCIC’s initial public offering.
As a result, we did not receive any cash proceeds from the Reverse Recapitalization. Total direct and incremental transaction costs of Bridger, JCIC and Legacy Bridger paid at Closing were approximately $16.6 million.
We may receive up to $306.5 million from the exercise of the 9,400,000 private placement warrants and 17,249,874 public warrants of the Company outstanding (collectively, the “Warrants”), assuming the exercise in full of all the Warrants for cash, but not from the sale of the shares of Common Stock issuable upon such exercise. On December 29, 2023, the closing price of our Common Stock was $6.91 per share. For so long as the market price of our Common Stock is below the exercise price of our Warrants ($11.50 per share), our Warrants remain “out-of-the money,” and holders of our Warrants are unlikely to cash exercise their Warrants, resulting in little or no cash proceeds to us. There can be no assurance that our Warrants will be in the money prior to their January 24, 2028 expiration date, and therefore, we may not receive any cash proceeds from the exercise of our Warrants to fund our operations. Accordingly, we have not relied on the receipt of proceeds from the exercise of our Warrants in assessing our capital requirements and sources of liquidity.
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We may in the future seek to raise additional funds through various potential sources, such as equity and debt financing for general corporate purposes or for specific purposes, including in order to pursue growth initiatives. Based on our unrestricted cash and cash equivalents balance as of December 31, 2023, and our projected cash use, we would anticipate the need to raise additional funds through equity or debt financing (or the issuance of stock as acquisition consideration) to pursue any significant acquisition opportunity, at the time of such acquisition opportunity. Our ability to generate proceeds from equity financings will significantly depend on the market price of our Common Stock.
On July 21, 2023, we entered into a Purchase and Sale Agreement (the “Bighorn Purchase Agreement”), through our subsidiary Bridger Bighorn, LLC, with Robert Eisele and Christopher Eisele (the “Bighorn Sellers”), the owners of Big Horn Airways, Inc. (“Bighorn”), pursuant to which we agreed to acquire 100% of the outstanding equity interests of Bighorn. The aggregate consideration for the Bighorn acquisition was $39.3 million, with $14.8 million payable in unregistered shares of Common Stock, and the remainder of $24.5 million payable in cash, as may be adjusted pursuant to the terms of the Bighorn Purchase Agreement, including for Bighorn’s cash, indebtedness, and net working capital as of the closing of the Bighorn acquisition. In November 2023, the Company and the Bighorn Sellers mutually agreed to terminate the Bighorn Purchase Agreement. There are no termination fees payable by either party and the Company has agreed to reimburse Bighorn $0.5 million for all fees incurred in connection with the proposed transaction.
On November 17, 2023, the Company entered into a series of agreements designed to facilitate the purchase and return to service of the Spanish Scoopers originally awarded to the Company’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Bridger Aerospace Europe, S.L.U. (“BAE”), in September 2023 via a public tender process from the Government of Spain for €40.3 million. Under the terms of the agreements, the Company agreed to sell its entire outstanding equity interest in BAE to MAB and purchase $4.0 million of non-voting Class B units of MAB. The Company also entered into a services agreement with MAB whereby the Company will manage the return to service upgrades of the Spanish Scoopers through the Company’s wholly-owned Spanish subsidiary, Albacete Aero, S.L., while they are owned and funded by MAB. The service agreement also provides that the Company has the right, but not the obligation, to acquire each Spanish Scooper as it is ready to be contracted and returned to service. Our management team estimates that the cost to renovate and upgrade these Spanish Scoopers will be approximately $8 million to $12 million per aircraft. Assuming timely completion of such renovations and upgrades, we expect these modified Spanish Scoopers to generate revenue and Adjusted EBITDA in-line with Bridger’s current fleet of Super Scoopers once contracting mechanics are negotiated with various foreign governments during their respective return-to-service timeframes. However, there can be no assurance that this acquisition will be completed upon the timeline discussed above or at all, nor that the Company will be able to successfully contract with various foreign governments to generate revenue.
Indebtedness
As of December 31, 2023, we held $25.4 million of current liabilities, $17.2 million of which was accrued expenses and other current liabilities.
As of December 31, 2023, we held $221.1 million of long-term liabilities with $204.6 million of total long-term debt, net of debt issuance costs, comprised of the Series 2022 Bonds, two separate credit facilities brokered through Live Oak Bank, two separate credit facilities with Rocky Mountain Bank and various short term vehicle loans through First Interstate Bank.
Series 2022 Bonds
On July 21, 2022, we closed our Series 2022 Bond Offering in a taxable industrial development revenue bond transaction with Gallatin County, Montana for $160.0 million (the “Series 2022 Bond Offering”). Pursuant to the Series 2022 Bond Offering, Gallatin County issued $135.0 million of bonds on July 21, 2022 and an additional $25.0 million of bonds on August 10, 2022. The proceeds from the offering, together with cash on hand, were used to redeem the capital contributions plus accrued interest for all of the remaining Legacy Bridger Series A-1 preferred shares and Legacy Bridger Series A-2 preferred shares totaling $134.0 million, the principal plus accrued interest for the Series 2021 Gallatin County municipal bond, totaling $7.7 million, to finance the construction and equipping of the Company’s third aircraft hangar in Belgrade, Montana and to fund the purchase of additional Super Scooper aircraft. The Series 2022 Bonds mature on September 1, 2027, with an annual interest rate of 11.5%. Interest is payable semiannually on March 1 and September 1 of each year until maturity and commenced on September 1, 2022. Debt issuance costs for the Series 2022 Bonds was $4.2 million.
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Optional Redemption—We may redeem the Series 2022 Bonds (i) during the period beginning on September 1, 2025 through August 31, 2026, at a redemption price equal to 103% of the principal amount plus accrued interest; (ii) during the period beginning on September 1, 2026 through August 31, 2027, at a redemption price equal to 102% of the principal amount plus accrued interest; and (iii) on or after September 1, 2027, at a redemption price equal to 100% of the principal amount plus accrued interest. At our direction, the Series 2022 Bonds may be redeemed by Gallatin County at any time, at a redemption price equal to 100% of the principal amount plus accrued interest upon the occurrence of certain events set forth in that certain Amended and Restated Trust Indenture, dated as of June 1, 2022 (the “Indenture”), between Gallatin County and U.S. Bank Trust Company, National Association, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Mandatory and Extraordinary Redemptions—Subject to the terms of the Indenture, the Series 2022 Bonds must be redeemed, including, among other things, (i) from all the proceeds of the sale of any Super Scooper, (ii) in an amount equal to (a) 50% of our operating revenues less the portion used to pay or establish reserves for all our expenses, debt payments, capital improvements, replacements, and contingencies (“Excess Cash Flow”) or (b) 100% of Excess Cash Flow, in each case, in the event we fall below certain debt service coverage ratio requirements set forth in the Indenture, and (iii) upon a change of control (each a “Mandatory Redemption”). For each Mandatory Redemption, the Series 2022 Bonds will be redeemed in whole or in part, at a redemption price equal to 100% of the principal amount of each Series 2022 Bond redeemed plus any premium that would be applicable to an optional redemption of the Series 2022 Bonds on such date (and if such redemption occurs prior to September 1, 2025, the applicable premium shall be three percent (3%)) and accrued interest. Furthermore, subject to the terms of the Indenture, at our direction, the Series 2022 Bonds may be redeemed by Gallatin County at any time, at a redemption price equal to 100% of the principal amount plus accrued interest upon the occurrence of certain events, including, among other things, casualty, condemnation, or other unexpected events set forth in the Indenture.
Financial Covenants— In connection with the Series 2022 Bonds, we are a party to certain loan agreements that contain customary representation and warranties, negative covenants, including, limitations on indebtedness, reduction of liquidity below certain levels, and asset sales, merger and other transactions, and remedies on and events of default.
Under the terms of such loan agreements, we are subject to certain financial covenants, that require, among other things, that we operate in a manner and to the extent permitted by applicable law, to produce sufficient gross revenues so as to be at all relevant times in compliance with the terms of such covenants, including that we maintain (i) beginning with the fiscal quarter ending December 31, 2023, a minimum debt service coverage ratio (generally calculated as the aggregate amount of our total gross revenues, minus operating expenses, plus interest, depreciation and amortization expense, for any period, over our maximum annual debt service requirements, as determined under such loan agreement) that exceeds 1.25x and (ii) beginning with the fiscal quarter ending September 30, 2022, a minimum liquidity of not less than $8 million in the form of unrestricted cash and cash equivalents, plus liquid investments and unrestricted marketable securities at all times.
Subject to the terms of the loan agreements, in the event we are unable to comply with the terms of the financial covenants, we may be required (among other potential remedial actions) to engage an independent consultant to review, analyze and make recommendations with respect to our operations or in some instances, this could result in an event of default and/or the acceleration of our debt obligations under the loan agreements. In addition, the acceleration of our debt obligations may in some instances (as set forth in our Amended and Restated Charter) result in an increase in the dividend rate of the Series A Preferred Stock by 2.00% per annum from the dividend rate otherwise in effect at such time.
The Company is not in compliance with the debt service coverage ratio covenant as of December 31, 2023 and management anticipates the Company to continue to not be in compliance with the debt service coverage ratio covenant at future quarterly measurement periods during the next 12 months, primarily attributable to the seasonal nature of our business and a less intense 2023 wildfire season. Although the Company is in compliance with the $8.0 million minimum liquidity requirement as of December 31, 2023, based on projected cash use, management anticipates that without additional cash funding the Company will not have sufficient cash on hand to comply with the minimum liquidity covenant or to fund operations, including $18.4 million of required interest payments associated with the Series 2022 Bonds, within the next 12 months, until the Company begins to collect cash from its seasonal firefighting operations in 2024.
The Series 2022 Bonds agreements provide that, with regard to covenant violations, other than non-payment of principal or interest, no event of default shall be deemed to have occurred so long as a reasonable course of action to remedy a violation commences within 30 days of non-compliance and management diligently prosecutes the remediation plan to completion.
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Management consulted with bond counsel on the impact of covenant violations and proactively developed a cost reduction plan, and began implementing the plan in November 2023, to help remedy the anticipated covenant breaches in 2024. However, this plan is in progress and there is no assurance that management will be able to diligently prosecute the remediation plan to completion. The uncertainty regarding the company’s ability to diligently prosecute the remediation plan to completion and the potential impact on the bonds maturity as a result of the anticipated debt covenant violations at subsequent compliance dates or failure to make required interest payments, could result in the Series 2022 Bonds becoming immediately due and payable, which raises substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern.
Live Oak Bank Loans
Our loans with Live Oak Bank are subject to financial covenants requiring the Company to maintain a debt service coverage ratio, generally calculated as the ratio of the net cash flow (as defined in the applicable note agreements) to the amount of interest and servicing fees required to be paid over the succeeding 12 months on the principal amount of the note, as applicable, that will be outstanding on the payment date following such date of determination, that exceeds 1.25x at the aircraft or entity level and for the Company’s debt to worth ratio to not exceed 5.00x at the aircraft or entity level. The Company is in compliance with such financial covenants as of December 31, 2023.
Rocky Mountain Bank Loans
Through certain of our subsidiaries, we entered into two credit facilities with Rocky Mountain Bank to finance in part (i) the construction of airplane hangars on September 30, 2019 and (ii) the purchase of four Quest Kodiak aircraft on February 3, 2020. In connection with such credit facilities, we also entered into various term loan and other long-term debt agreements which contain certain financial covenants, including, that we maintain (i) a debt service coverage ratio that exceeds 1.25x (generally calculated as the ratio of the net operating income over the debt service payments made or as the ratio of adjusted EBITDA over the aggregate amount of interest and principal payments, in each case, as determined in the applicable agreement) and (ii) certain senior leverage ratios that do not exceed 7.00x through the third quarter of 2024, 6.00x through the third quarter of 2025, or 5.00x thereafter (generally calculated as the ratio of the senior funded debt over EBITDA, as determined in the applicable agreement). The Company is in compliance with such financial covenants as of December 31, 2023.
Mandatorily Redeemable Preferred Stock
Legacy Bridger Series B Preferred Shares
On April 25, 2022, we used a portion of the proceeds from the issuance of the Legacy Bridger Series C Preferred Shares to redeem all 60,000,000 of our outstanding Legacy Bridger Series B Preferred Shares for $70.0 million, inclusive of $10.0 million in accrued interest.
Legacy Bridger Series A Preferred Shares
On April 25, 2022, we and our investors included a new mandatory redemption provision requiring Legacy Bridger Series A Preferred Shares to be redeemed on April 25, 2032. Due to the mandatory redemption provision, Legacy Bridger Series A Preferred Shares were reclassified from mezzanine equity to liability. We elected the fair value option to measure the modification of the Legacy Bridger Series A Preferred Shares. On July 25, 2022, we used the proceeds from the Series 2022 Bonds plus cash on hand to redeem in full the remaining 6,055,556 shares of the Legacy Bridger Series A Preferred Shares for aggregate proceeds of $136.3 million. The fair values of the Legacy Bridger Series A Preferred Shares increased by $3.9 million from interest accrued since the modification on April 25, 2022 and no gain or loss were recorded to net loss upon redemption.
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Mezzanine and Permanent Equity
Preferred Shares
On April 25, 2022, we authorized and issued 315,789.473684 Legacy Bridger Series C Preferred Shares for aggregate proceeds of $288.5 million, net of issuance costs of $11.5 million. Legacy Bridger Series C Preferred Shares rank senior to our Common Stock and ranked subordinate to Legacy Bridger Series A Preferred Shares with respect to the distribution of assets upon liquidation or certain triggering events. Upon the Closing, Legacy Bridger Series C Preferred Shares were exchanged for shares of Series A Preferred Stock on a one-to-one basis as a portion of the merger consideration issued in connection with the Reverse Recapitalization. The Series A Preferred Stock is classified as mezzanine equity as it remains probable that they may become redeemable upon the mandatory redemption date of April 25, 2032. Series A Preferred Stock does not participate in earnings and is non-voting. For additional information regarding the terms and conditions of the Series A Preferred Stock, see “Note 20 – Mezzanine Equity” for additional details.
Prior to the Closing, Legacy Bridger Series C Preferred Shares accrued interest daily at 7% per annum for the first year, 9% per annum for the second year and 11% per annum thereafter. Following the Closing, the Series A Preferred Stock will continue to accrue interest daily at 7% per annum for the first six years, 9% per annum for the seventh year and 11% per annum thereafter. Accrued interest for Series A Preferred Stock was $22.2 million as of December 31, 2023.
As of December 31, 2023, it was probable that the Series A Preferred Stock may become redeemable at the holder’s option on or after March 29, 2027. We have elected to recognize changes in redemption value immediately, adjusting the preferred shares to the maximum redemption value at each reporting date. Upon the Closing and exchange of Legacy Bridger Series C Preferred Shares for Series A Preferred Stock, the 50% multiplier, applicable to redemptions of Legacy Bridger Series C Preferred Shares, valued at $157.9 million as of December 31, 2022, was removed and treated as a deemed dividend. As of December 31, 2023, Series A Preferred Stock had a carrying value and redemption value of $354.8 million.
Common Stock
Legacy Bridger had 30,000,000 Legacy Bridger Class A common shares issued and outstanding as of December 31, 2022. The holders of these shares were entitled to one vote for each share held of record on all matters submitted to a vote of Legacy Bridger’s equityholders. These Legacy Bridger Class A common shares were issued to ElementCompany, LLC.
Legacy Bridger had 9,756,130 Legacy Bridger Class B common shares issued and outstanding as of December 31, 2022. The holders of these Legacy Bridger Class B common shares were entitled to one vote for each share held of record on all matters submitted to a vote of Legacy Bridger’s equityholders.
Legacy Bridger had 243,871 Legacy Bridger Class C common shares issued and outstanding as of December 31, 2022. Legacy Bridger also had 606,061 Legacy Bridger Class D common shares issued and outstanding as of December 31, 2022. These Legacy Bridger Class C common shares and Legacy Bridger Class D common shares were non-voting shares.
Prior to the Closing, Legacy Bridger’s voting power followed the structure of the elected board members with three (3) designees from the holders of Legacy Bridger Class A common shares and two (2) designees from the holders of Legacy Bridger Class B common shares. This remained in place until the Closing.
Upon the Closing on January 24, 2023 and at December 31, 2023, we had 43,769,290 and 44,776,926 shares of Common Stock issued and outstanding, respectively.
Historical Cash Flows
Our consolidated cash flows from operating, investing and financing activities for the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022 were as follows:
$s in thousandsYear Ended December 31, 2023Year Ended December 31, 2022
Net cash used in operating activities$(26,808)$(9,918)
Net cash provided by (used in) investing activities27,158 (89,813)
Net cash (used in) provided by financing activities(5,831)124,930 
Effects of exchange rate changes(42)— 
Net change in cash and cash equivalents$(5,523)$25,199 
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Operating Activities
Net cash used in operating activities was $26.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2023, compared to Net cash used in operating activities of $9.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2022. Net cash used in operating activities reflects Net loss of $77.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2023 compared to $42.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2022. Net cash used in operating activities for the year ended December 31, 2023 reflects add-backs to Net loss for non-cash charges totaling $62.2 million, primarily attributable to stock-based compensation expense of $47.8 million and depreciation and amortization of $11.1 million. Net cash used in operating activities for the year ended December 31, 2022 reflects add-backs to Net loss for non-cash charges totaling $20.9 million, primarily attributable to depreciation and amortization of $9.1 million, change in fair value of Legacy Bridger Series A Preferred Shares of $3.9 million and interest accrued on Legacy Bridger Series B Preferred Shares of $3.6 million.
Investing Activities
Net cash provided by investing activities was $27.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2023, compared to Net cash used in investing activities of $89.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2022. Net cash provided by investing activities for the year ended December 31, 2023 primarily reflects proceeds from sales and maturities of marketable securities of $55.4 million, partially offset by purchases of property, plant and equipment of $20.7 million. Net cash used in investing activities for the year ended December 31, 2022 primarily reflects purchases of marketable securities of $60.2 million and purchases of property, plant and equipment and investments in construction in progress of $35.4 million.
Financing Activities
Net cash used in financing activities was $5.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2023, compared to Net cash provided by financing activities of $124.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2022. Net cash used in financing activities for the year ended December 31, 2023 primarily reflects costs incurred related to the Closing of $6.8 million and repayments of debt of $2.2 million partially offset by proceeds from the Closing of $3.2 million. Net cash provided by financing activities for the year ended December 31, 2022 primarily reflects borrowings from the Legacy Bridger Series C Preferred Shares and Series 2022 Bonds of $448.5 million, partially offset by payments to Legacy Bridger Series A and Series B Preferred Shares members of $306.2 million.
Contractual Obligations
Our principal commitments consist of obligations for outstanding leases and debt. The following table summarizes our contractual obligations as of December 31, 2023:
Payments Due by Period
$s in thousandsTotalCurrentNoncurrent
Lease obligations
$11,155 $2,179 $8,976 
Debt obligations
211,374 2,993 208,381 
Total
$222,529 $5,172 $217,357 
On February 14, 2023, we made the final $9.1 million payment for the purchase of aircraft under our purchase agreement with Longview Aviation Services Inc. and Viking Air Limited (the manufacturer of our Super Scooper aircraft and an affiliate of Longview Aviation Services Inc.), dated April 13, 2018.
On November 17, 2023, the Company entered into a series of agreements with MAB and its subsidiary designed to facilitate the purchase and return to service of four Spanish Scoopers originally awarded to the Company in September 2023 via a public tender process from the Government of Spain. The terms of the agreements provide that the Company will manage the return to service upgrades of the Spanish Scoopers while they are owned and funded by MAB. The Company has the right, but not the obligation, to acquire each plane as it is ready to be contracted and returned to service. In the event that the Company does not purchase the aircraft within the time periods set forth in the agreements, then either party may initiate a sales process for the sale of all aircraft that have not been purchased by the Company, which sales process the Company will oversee and manage. If the aircraft are sold to a third party through such process, then the Company must pay the MAB’s subsidiary a cash fee equal to the amount, if any, by which the aggregate price of the Company’s purchase options for such aircraft exceeds the consideration paid by the third-party purchaser for the same aircraft, not to exceed $15.0 million in aggregate. If the aircraft are not sold to a third party and MAB’s subsidiary has not otherwise entered into an operating lease with a third party for the aircraft, then the Company must pay MAB’s subsidiary $15.0 million.
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Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements
On November 17, 2023, we entered into a series of agreements designed to facilitate the purchase and return to service of the Spanish Scoopers originally awarded to our wholly-owned subsidiary, BAE, in September 2023 via a public tender process from the Government of Spain for €40.3 million. Under the terms of the agreements, we agreed to sell the entire outstanding equity interest in BAE to MAB and purchase $4.0 million of non-voting Class B units of MAB. We also entered into a services agreement with MAB whereby we will manage the return to service upgrades of the Spanish Scoopers through our wholly-owned Spanish subsidiary, Albacete Aero, S.L., while they are owned and funded by MAB. The service agreement also provides that we have the right, but not the obligation, to acquire each Spanish Scooper as it is ready to be contracted and returned to service. The Company assessed both MAB and BAE for variable interest entity accounting under ASC 810-10-15 and determined that MAB is a voting interest entity and BAE is a variable interest entity. However, neither entity is consolidated in the consolidated financial statements as the Company does not have a controlling financial interest in MAB and the Company is not the primary beneficiary of BAE.
As of December 31, 2023 and 2022, we did not have any other relationships with special purpose or variable interest entities which have been established for the purpose of facilitating off-balance sheet arrangement, which have not been consolidated in the consolidated financial statements of the Company. Refer to “Note 2 – Summary of Significant Accounting Policies” of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for additional information.
CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES AND ESTIMATES
Our Consolidated Financial Statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are prepared in accordance with GAAP. The preparation of these Consolidated Financial Statements requires us to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenue, costs and expenses, provision for income taxes and related disclosures. We base our estimates on historical experience and on various other assumptions that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances. Changes in accounting estimates are reasonably likely to occur from period to period. Accordingly, actual results could differ significantly from the estimates made by our management. We evaluate our estimates and assumptions on an ongoing basis. To the extent that there are material differences between these estimates and actual results, our future financial statement presentation, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows will be affected.
We believe that the following critical accounting policies involve a greater degree of judgment or complexity than our other accounting policies. Accordingly, these are the policies we believe are the most critical to aid in fully understanding and evaluating our consolidated financial condition and results of operations.
Investments in Marketable Securities
Investments in debt securities are classified as available-for-sale and are carried at fair value, with unrealized gains and losses reported as accumulated other comprehensive income. Gains and losses are recognized when realized. Unrealized losses are evaluated for impairment to determine if the impairment is credit related. An other-than-temporary credit impairment would be recognized as an adjustment to income. Gains and losses are determined using the first-in first-out method. Investments in marketable securities are classified as current assets with short-term maturities of less than one year.
Revenue Recognition
We charge daily and hourly rates depending upon the type of firefighting services rendered and under which contract the services are performed. These services are primarily split into flight revenue and standby revenue. Flight revenue is primarily earned at an hourly rate when the engines of the aircraft are started and stopped upon request of the customer, tracked via flight logs for Super Scoopers or a Hobbs meter for other aircraft. Standby revenue is earned primarily as a daily rate when aircraft are available for use at a fire base, awaiting request from the customer for flight deployment.
We enter into short, medium and long-term contracts with customers, primarily with government agencies to deploy aerial fire management assets during the firefighting season. Revenue is recognized when performance obligations under the terms of a contract with our customers are satisfied and payment is typically due within 30 days of invoicing. This occurs as the services are rendered and include the use of the aircraft, pilot, and field maintenance personnel to support the contract.
Contracts are based on either a CWN or EU basis. Rates established are generally more competitive based on the security of the revenue from the contract (i.e., an EU versus only on an as-needed basis in CWN). These rates are delineated by the type of service, generally flight time or time available for deployment. Once an aircraft is deployed on a contract the fees are earned at these rates and cannot be obligated to another customer. Contracts have no financing components and consideration is at pre-determined rates. No variable considerations are constrained within the contracts.
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The transaction prices are allocated on the service performed and tracked real-time by each operator in a duty log. On at least a monthly basis, the services performed and rates are validated by each customer. Acceptance by the customer is evidenced by the provision of their funded task order or accepted invoice.
Other revenue consists of leasing revenues from the rental of BSI, LLC facilities to another related party as well as external repair work performed on customer aircraft by Bridger Aviation Repair, LLC.
Payment terms vary by customer and type of revenue contract. We generally expect that the period of time between payment and transfer of promised goods or services will be less than one year. In such instances, we have elected the practical expedient to not evaluate whether a significant financing component exists. As permitted under the practical expedient available under ASC 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers, we do not disclose the value of unsatisfied performance obligations for (i) contracts with an original expected length of one year or less and (ii) contracts for which we recognize revenue at the amount which we have the right to invoice for services performed.
Sales taxes and value added taxes in foreign jurisdictions that are collected from customers and remitted to governmental authorities are accounted for on a net basis and therefore are excluded from Revenues.
Business Combinations
The Company records tangible and intangible assets acquired and liabilities assumed in business combinations under the acquisition method of accounting in accordance with ASC 805, Business Combinations. Under the acquisition method of accounting, amounts paid for the acquisition are allocated to the assets acquired and liabilities assumed based on their estimated fair values at the date of acquisition inclusive of identifiable intangible assets. Acquisition consideration includes contingent consideration with payment terms based on the achievement of certain targets of the acquired business. The estimated fair value of identifiable assets and liabilities, including intangibles, are based on valuations that use information and assumptions available to management. The Company allocates any excess purchase price over the fair value of the tangible and identifiable intangible assets acquired and liabilities assumed to goodwill. Significant management judgments and assumptions are required in determining the fair value of assets acquired and liabilities assumed, particularly acquired intangible assets, including estimated useful lives. The valuation of purchased intangible assets is based upon estimates of the future performance and discounted cash flows of the acquired business. Each asset acquired or liability assumed is measured at estimated fair value from the perspective of a market participant.
Contingent consideration represents an obligation of the acquirer to transfer additional assets or equity interests to the seller if future events occur or conditions are met and is recognized when probable and reasonably estimable. Contingent consideration recognized is included in the initial cost of the assets acquired. Subsequent changes in the estimated fair value of contingent consideration are recognized as Selling, general and administrative expenses within the Consolidated Statements of Operations.
Stock-Based Compensation
In January 2023, the Company along with the Board established and approved and assumed the Bridger Aerospace Group Holdings, Inc. 2023 Omnibus Incentive Plan (the “Omnibus Plan”). The Omnibus Plan was developed to motivate and reward employees and other individuals to perform at the highest level and contribute significantly to the success of the Company, thereby furthering the best interests of the Company and its shareholders. The Omnibus Plan provides, among other things, the ability for the Company to grant options, stock appreciation rights, restricted stock, restricted stock units (“RSUs”), performance awards and other stock-based and cash-based awards to employees, consultants and non-employee directors.
The Omnibus Plan expires on January 23, 2033 and authorizes 15,099,137 shares of common stock for grant over the life of the Omnibus Plan. As of December 31, 2023, 5,314,546 shares of common stock remain available for grant under the Omnibus Plan.
As of December 31, 2023, the Company has granted participants RSUs and bonuses paid in Common Stock under the Omnibus Plan. Upon satisfying the vesting conditions, each RSU provides the participant the right to receive one share of Common Stock. The fair value of RSUs is determined based on the quoted market price of the Common Stock on the date of grant. Compensation cost for the RSUs is recognized over the requisite service period based on a graded-vesting method. The Company accounts for forfeitures as they occur. Stock-based compensation is included in both Cost of revenues and Selling, general and administrative expense in the Consolidated Statements of Operations. Upon vesting of each RSU, the Company will issue one share of Common Stock to the RSU holder.
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Prior to the adoption of the Omnibus Plan, Legacy Bridger granted incentive units (the “Legacy Bridger Incentive Units”) to selected board members and executives. Within each grant, 80% of the Legacy Bridger Incentive Units vest annually over a four-year period subject to continued service by the grantee (the “Time-Vesting Incentive Units”) and the remaining 20% of the Legacy Bridger Incentive Units vest upon a qualifying change of control event (the “Exit-Vesting Incentive Units”). In connection with the Reverse Recapitalization, the Company assumed all of the remaining 242,424 outstanding and unvested Legacy Bridger Incentive Units. Upon vesting of each Legacy Bridger Incentive Unit, the Company will issue Common Stock to the Incentive Unit holder at an exchange ratio of 0.96246 shares of Common Stock per Incentive Unit.
Notwithstanding the above, any unvested Time-Vesting Incentive Units will become vested Time-Vesting Incentive Units if a qualifying change of control event occurs prior to the respective award’s four-year service-based vesting period. Upon termination of the board member or executive, the Company has the right, but not the obligation, to repurchase all or any portion of the vested Incentive Units at fair market value.
For the Time-Vesting Incentive Units, compensation cost is recognized over the requisite service period on a straight-line basis. Upon a qualifying change of control event, the unrecognized compensation expense related to the Time-Vesting Incentive Units will be recognized when the change of control event is considered probable. For the Exit-Vesting Incentive Units, expense is recognized when a qualifying change of control event is considered probable, which has not occurred as of December 31, 2023. Forfeitures are accounted for as they occur.
Compensation cost for the Legacy Bridger Incentive Units was measured at their grant-date fair value. The value of Legacy Bridger common shares was derived through an option pricing model, which incorporated various assumptions. Refer to “Note 18 – Stock-Based Compensation” of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for a summary of the assumptions utilized in determining grant-date fair value.
Impairment of Goodwill and Long-Lived Assets
Goodwill
Goodwill represents the excess of purchase price over fair value of the net assets acquired in an acquisition. Beginning in 2023, the Company assesses goodwill for impairment as of October 1 annually or more frequently upon an indicator of impairment. Prior to 2023, the Company assessed goodwill for impairment as of December 31 annually or more frequently upon an indicator of impairment. The change to an October 1 annual goodwill impairment assessment date was made to ensure the completion of the Company’s assessment prior to the end of its annual reporting period, thereby aligning impairment testing procedures with its year-end financial reporting.
When we elect to perform a qualitative assessment and conclude it is more likely that the fair value of the reporting unit is greater than its carrying value, no further assessment of that reporting unit’s goodwill is necessary. Otherwise, a quantitative assessment is performed, and the fair value of the reporting unit is determined. If the carrying value of the reporting unit exceeds its fair value, an impairment loss equal to the excess is recorded. Conditions that would trigger an impairment assessment include, but are not limited to, a significant adverse change in legal factors or the business climate that could affect the value of an asset or an adverse reaction. As of the October 1, 2023 and December 31, 2022 annual goodwill impairment tests, the Company’s qualitative analysis indicated the fair value of the Company’s reporting unit exceeded its carrying value.
Long-Lived Assets
A long-lived asset (including amortizable identifiable intangible assets) or asset group is tested for recoverability whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that its carrying amount may not be recoverable. Conditions that may indicate impairment include, but are not limited to, a significant adverse change in customer demand or business climate that could affect the value of an asset, or an adverse action or assessment by a regulator. When indicators of impairment are present, we evaluate the carrying value of the long-lived assets in relation to the operating performance and future undiscounted cash flows of the underlying assets. We adjust the net book value of the long-lived assets to fair value if the sum of the expected future cash flows is less than book value.
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Property, Plant and Equipment, net
Property, plant and equipment is stated at net book value, cost less depreciation. Depreciation for aircraft, engines and rotable parts is recorded over the estimated useful life based on flight hours. Depreciation for vehicles and equipment and buildings is computed using the straight-line method over the estimated useful lives of the property, plant and equipment. Depreciable lives by asset category are as follows:
Estimated useful life
Aircraft, engines and rotable parts
1,500 – 6,000 flight hours
Vehicles and equipment3 – 5 years
Buildings40 years
Property, plant and equipment are reviewed for impairment as discussed above under “Long-Lived Assets”.
Cost Method Investments
We hold equity securities without a readily determinable fair value, which are only adjusted for observable price changes in orderly transactions for the same or similar equity securities or any impairment, totaling $5.0 million and $1.0 million as of December 31, 2023 and 2022, respectively.
Variable Interest Entities
We follow ASC 810-10-15 guidance with respect to accounting for VIEs. These entities do not have sufficient equity at risk to finance their activities without additional subordinated financial support from other parties or whose equity investors lack any of the characteristics of a controlling financial interest. A variable interest is an investment or other interest that will absorb portions of a VIE’s expected losses or receive portions of its expected returns and are contractual, ownership or pecuniary in nature and that change with changes in the fair value of the entity’s net assets. A reporting entity is the primary beneficiary of a VIE and must consolidate it when that party has a variable interest, or combination of variable interests, that provide it with a controlling financial interest. A party is deemed to have a controlling financial interest if it meets both of the power and loss/benefits criteria. The power criterion is the ability to direct the activities of the VIE that most significantly impact its economic performance. The losses/benefits criterion is the obligation to absorb losses from, or right to receive benefits from, the VIE that could potentially be significant to the VIE. The VIE model requires an ongoing reconsideration of whether a reporting entity is the primary beneficiary of a VIE due to changes in the facts and circumstances. For the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022, Northern Fire Management Services, LLC, a VIE of which the Company was identified as the primary beneficiary, is consolidated into our financial statements. Refer to “Note 2 – Summary of Significant Accounting Policies” of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for additional information.
Fair Value of Financial Instruments
We follow guidance in ASC 820, Fair Value Measurement, where fair value is defined as the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date. Fair value measurements are determined within a framework that establishes a three-tier hierarchy which maximizes the use of observable market data and minimizes the use of unobservable inputs to establish a classification of fair value measurements for disclosure purposes. Inputs may be observable or unobservable. Observable inputs reflect the assumptions market participants would use in pricing the asset or liability based on market data obtained from sources independent of our business. Unobservable inputs reflect our own assumptions about the assumptions market participants would use in pricing the asset or liability based on the information available.
Warrant Liabilities
We account for the Warrants issued in connection with the Reverse Recapitalization in accordance with the guidance contained in accordance with ASC 480, Distinguishing Liabilities from Equity and ASC 815-40, Derivatives and Hedging—Contracts in Entity’s Own Equity, under which the Warrants do not meet the criteria for equity treatment and must be recorded as liabilities. Accordingly, we classify the Warrants as liabilities at their fair value and adjust the Warrants to fair value at each reporting period. The warrant liabilities are subject to remeasurement at each balance sheet date until exercised. Refer to Note 13 – Accrued Expenses and Other Liabilities” of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for additional information.
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RECENT ACCOUNTING PRONOUNCEMENTS
For additional information regarding recent accounting pronouncements adopted and under evaluation, refer to “Note 2 – Summary of Significant Accounting Policies” of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
EMERGING GROWTH COMPANY AND SMALLER REPORTING COMPANY STATUS
Section 102(b)(1) of the JOBS Act exempts “emerging growth companies” as defined in Section 2(A) of the Securities Act of 1933, from being required to comply with new or revised financial accounting standards until private companies are required to comply with the new or revised financial accounting standards. The JOBS Act provides that a company can choose not to take advantage of the extended transition period and comply with the requirements that apply to non-emerging growth companies, and any such election to not take advantage of the extended transition period is irrevocable. We are an “emerging growth company” and have elected to take advantage of the benefits of this extended transition period.
We will use this extended transition period for complying with new or revised accounting standards that have different effective dates for public business entities and non-public business entities until the earlier of the date that we (a) are no longer an emerging growth company or (b) affirmatively and irrevocably opt out of the extended transition period provided in the JOBS Act. The extended transition period exemptions afforded by our emerging growth company status may make it difficult or impossible to compare our financial results with the financial results of another public company that is either not an emerging growth company or is an emerging growth company that has chosen not to take advantage of this exemption because of the potential differences in accounting standards used. Refer to “Note 2 – Summary of Significant Accounting Policies” of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for the recent accounting pronouncements adopted and the recent accounting pronouncements not yet adopted for the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022.
We will remain an “emerging growth company” under the JOBS Act until the earliest of (a) December 31, 2028, (b) the last date of our fiscal year in which we have total annual gross revenue of at least $1.235 billion, (c) the last date of our fiscal year in which we are deemed to be a “large accelerated filer” under the rules of the SEC with at least $700.0 million of outstanding securities held by non-affiliates or (d) the date on which we have issued more than $1.0 billion in non-convertible debt securities during the previous three years.
We will be a “smaller reporting company” as defined in Item 10(f)(1) of Regulation S-K. Smaller reporting companies may take advantage of certain reduced disclosure obligations, including, among other things, providing only two years of audited financial statements. We will remain a smaller reporting company until the last day of the fiscal year in which (i) the market value of our common stock held by non-affiliates is greater than or equal to $250 million as of the end of that fiscal year’s second fiscal quarter, and (ii) our annual revenues are greater than or equal to $100 million during the last completed fiscal year or the market value of our common stock held by non-affiliates exceeds $700 million as of the end of that fiscal year’s second fiscal quarter.
INTERNAL CONTROL OVER FINANCIAL REPORTING
We have identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, which we are in the process of, and are focused on, remediating. The first material weakness is related to reviewing third party accounting advice and properly accounting for complex transactions, especially related to merger and acquisition activity, within our financial statement closing and reporting process. The second material weakness arises from our failure to design and maintain effective IT general controls over the IT systems used within the processing of key financial transactions. Specifically, we did not design and maintain user access controls to ensure appropriate segregation of duties and that adequately restrict user and privileged access to financial applications, programs, and data to appropriate company personnel. Within the same material weakness, we have also failed to maintain adequate documentation around the process of implementing new software solutions. Lastly, we identified a third material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting related to the period-end account reconciliation and financial statement review controls which did not operate within a sufficient level of precision.
We have begun the process of, and are focused on, designing and implementing effective internal controls measures to improve our internal control over financial reporting and remediate the material weaknesses, including:
the recruitment of additional personnel with extensive knowledge of GAAP, implementation of software to facilitate the accumulation and review of our financial information, and utilization of third party consultants and specialists to supplement our internal resources, as well as implementing processes and controls to segregate key functions within our finance systems, as appropriate;
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designing and following a formalized control plan related to IT general controls, including controls related to developing, implementing, and managing access to and implementing financially significant systems within our IT environment; and
engaging internal and external resources to assist with the design and evaluation of internal controls and the remediation of deficiencies, as necessary.
While these actions and planned actions are subject to ongoing management evaluation and will require validation and testing of the design and operating effectiveness of internal controls over a sustained period of financial reporting cycles, we are committed to the continuous improvement of our internal control over financial reporting and will continue to diligently review our internal control over financial reporting.
Although we plan to complete this remediation process as quickly as possible, we are unable, at this time, to estimate how long it will take and our efforts may not be successful in remediating the identified material weaknesses. In addition, even if we are successful in strengthening our controls and procedures, we can give no assurances that in the future such controls and procedures will be adequate to prevent or identify errors or irregularities or to facilitate the fair preparation and presentation of our consolidated financial statements.
ITEM 7A. QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK.
Pursuant to Item 305(e) of Regulation S-K, the Company is not required to provide the information required by this Item as it is a “smaller reporting company.”
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ITEM 8. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS AND SUPPLEMENTARY DATA.
BRIDGER AEROSPACE GROUP HOLDINGS, INC.
INDEX TO FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
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REPORT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM
Stockholders and the Board of Directors of
Bridger Aerospace Group Holdings, Inc.
Belgrade, Montana
Opinion on the Financial Statements
We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Bridger Aerospace Group Holdings, Inc. (the “Company”) as of December 31, 2023 and 2022, the related consolidated statements of operations, comprehensive loss, stockholders’ deficit, and cash flows for each of the two years in the period ended December 31, 2023, and the related notes (collectively referred to as the “financial statements”). In our opinion, the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company as of December 31, 2023 and 2022, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for each of the two years in the period ended December 31, 2023, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.
Explanatory Paragraph – Going Concern
The accompanying financial statements have been prepared assuming that the Company will continue as a going concern. As discussed in Note 1 to the financial statements, the Company has suffered recurring losses from operations, operating cash flow deficits, debt covenant violations, and insufficient liquidity to fund its operations that raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern. Management’s plans in regard to these matters are also described in Note 1. The financial statements do not include any adjustments that might result from the outcome of this uncertainty.
Basis for Opinion
These financial statements are the responsibility of the Company’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (“PCAOB”) and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.
We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. The Company is not required to have, nor were we engaged to perform, an audit of its internal control over financial reporting. As part of our audits we are required to obtain an understanding of internal control over financial reporting but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the Company’s internal control over financial reporting. Accordingly, we express no such opinion.
Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.
/s/ Crowe LLP
We have served as the Company’s auditor since 2022.
Atlanta, Georgia
March 20, 2024
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BRIDGER AEROSPACE GROUP HOLDINGS, INC.
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(In thousands, except per share amounts)
As of December 31,
20232022
ASSETS
Current assets:
Cash and cash equivalents$22,956 $30,163 
Restricted cash13,981 12,297 
Investments in marketable securities1,009 54,980 
Accounts and note receivable4,113 29 
Aircraft support parts488 1,761 
Prepaid expenses and other current assets2,648 1,835 
Deferred offering costs 5,800 
Total current assets45,195 106,865 
Property, plant and equipment, net196,611 192,092 
Intangible assets, net1,730 208 
Goodwill13,163 2,458 
Other noncurrent assets1
16,771 4,356 
Total assets$273,470 $305,979 
LIABILITIES, MEZZANINE EQUITY AND STOCKHOLDERS’ DEFICIT
Current liabilities:
Accounts payable2
$3,978 $3,170 
Accrued expenses and other current liabilities3
17,168 18,670 
Operating right-of-use current liability4
2,153 21 
Current portion of long-term debt, net of debt issuance costs2,099 2,446 
Total current liabilities25,398 24,307 
Long-term accrued expenses and other noncurrent liabilities10,777 46 
Operating right-of-use noncurrent liability5
5,779 755 
Long-term debt, net of debt issuance costs6
204,585 205,471 
Total liabilities246,539 230,579 
COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES
MEZZANINE EQUITY
Series A Preferred Stock, $0.0001 par value; 315,789.473684 shares authorized, issued and outstanding at December 31, 2023
354,840  
Legacy Bridger Series C Preferred Shares, $0.001 par value; 315,789.473684 shares authorized, issued and outstanding at December 31, 2022
 489,022 
STOCKHOLDERS’ DEFICIT
Common Stock, $0.0001 par value; 1,000,000,000 shares authorized; 44,776,926 shares issued and outstanding at December 31, 2023; 39,081,744 shares issued and outstanding at December 31, 2022
5 4 
Additional paid-in capital84,771  
Accumulated deficit(413,672)(415,304)
Accumulated other comprehensive income987 1,678 
Total stockholders’ deficit(327,909)(413,622)
Total liabilities, mezzanine equity, and stockholders’ deficit$273,470 $305,979 
1Includes related party operating lease right-of-use assets of $6.3 million as of December 31, 2023.
2Includes related party accounts payable of $0.1 million and $0.3 million as of December 31, 2023 and 2022, respectively.
3Includes related party accrued interest expense of $0.4 million as of December 31, 2023 and 2022.
4Includes related party operating lease right-of-use current liabilities of $1.7 million as of December 31, 2023.
5Includes related party operating lease right-of-use noncurrent liabilities of $4.6 million as of December 31, 2023.
6Includes related party debt of $10.0 million as of December 31, 2023 and 2022.
The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.
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BRIDGER AEROSPACE GROUP HOLDINGS, INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
(In thousands, except per share amounts)
For the years ended December 31,
20232022
Revenues1
$66,708 $46,388 
Cost of revenues:
Flight operations2
24,412 18,762 
Maintenance16,928 15,124 
Total cost of revenues41,340 33,886 
Gross income25,368 12,502 
Selling, general and administrative expense82,863 35,128 
Operating loss(57,495)(22,626)
Interest expense3
(23,218)(20,020)
Other income3,053 521 
Loss before income taxes(77,660)(42,125)
Income tax benefit302  
Net loss$(77,358)$(42,125)
Series A Preferred Stock—adjustment for deemed dividend upon Closing(48,300) 
Series A Preferred Stock—adjustment to eliminate 50% multiplier156,363  
Series A Preferred Stock—adjustment to maximum redemptions value(22,181) 
Legacy Bridger Series A Preferred Shares—adjustment for redemption, extinguishment and accrued interest (85,663)
Legacy Bridger Series C Preferred Shares - adjustment to maximum redemption value (202,689)
Net income (loss) attributable to Common stockholders - basic and diluted$8,524 $(330,477)
Net income (loss) per Common Stock - basic$0.19 $(8.20)
Net income (loss) per Common Stock - diluted$0.11 $(8.20)
Weighted average Common Stock outstanding – basic45,269,20140,287,478
Weighted average Common Stock outstanding – diluted78,908,01740,287,478
1Includes related party revenues of $0.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2023.
2Includes related party cost of revenues of $1.2 million and $0.3 million for the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022, respectively.
3Includes related party interest of $1.2 million and $0.4 million for the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022, respectively.
The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.
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BRIDGER AEROSPACE GROUP HOLDINGS, INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF COMPREHENSIVE LOSS
(In thousands)
For the years ended December 31,
20232022
Net loss$(77,358)$(42,125)
Other comprehensive loss, net of tax:
Foreign currency translation adjustment(42) 
Unrealized (loss) gain on derivative instruments(290)1,381 
Unrealized gain on investments in marketable securities247 272 
Reclassification of realized gains on investments in marketable securities to earnings(606) 
Total other comprehensive (loss) income, net of tax(691)1,653 
Comprehensive loss$(78,049)$(40,472)
The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.
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BRIDGER AEROSPACE GROUP HOLDINGS, INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF STOCKHOLDERS’ DEFICIT
(In thousands, except share amounts)
Legacy Bridger Series A Preferred SharesLegacy Bridger Series B Preferred SharesLegacy Bridger Series C Preferred Shares / Series A Preferred StockCommon Stock