General Maritime Unsecured Creditors Set To Recover More
03/27/2012| 01:44pm US/Eastern
By Joseph Checkler
Of DOW JONES DAILY BANKRUPTCY REVIEW
General Maritime Corp. (GMRRQ) has reached a deal with a previously disgruntled group of creditors that should help the shipper move ahead with a plan to exit bankruptcy in the hands of Oaktree Capital Management LP.
In a Monday filing with U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, General Maritime said the deal improves recovery for its unsecured creditors to 5.41% of what they're owed, up from a range of 0.75% to 1.88%.
"The global settlement will allow for a consensual reorganization, substantially deleverage the debtors' balance sheet, provide a material recovery to unsecured creditors, and allow the debtors to continue as a going concern post-emergence," General Maritime said in the filing.
A hearing on the changes, which modify the investment agreement with Oaktree, is set for next week.
General Maritime is rushing to get confirmation of its bankruptcy plan, which is backed by a $175 million equity investment by Oaktree, the company's top lender before it filed for bankruptcy.
At a hearing last month, unsecured creditors objected to myriad issues with the proposal, including a provision that called for Oaktree to get 100% of a reorganized General Maritime's equity. That version of the proposal would have paid unsecured creditors $6 million, including participation in a $61.25 million rights offering, as well as warrants to purchase up to 2.5% more of the equity.
Now, the rights offering is scrapped, and unsecured creditors will get 2% of the reorganized General Maritime's equity and warrants to purchase up to 3% more of the equity, in addition to the $6 million in cash.
The unsecured creditors had argued last month that General Maritime should be valued higher, which would leave more money for them. One lawyer for the committee had said an eventual sale of General Maritime's assets to a third party could also result in more money for unsecured creditors.
But at the same hearing, General Maritime called its case a "melting ice cube" and said it needs to get out of bankruptcy fast, hopefully by May. A judge that day agreed, sending the plan to creditors for a vote. A hearing on final confirmation of the plan is currently set for April 25. In its Monday filing, Oaktree said it didn't think it would have to poll creditors again, since the groups that voted against it are now getting better recoveries.
General Maritime last November filed for Chapter 11 protection with some $1.4 billion in debt after struggling in the wake of waning demand for its global marine shipping services. Its proposal would slash the debt by about $600 million.
The shipper's 33-vessel fleet travels to about 230 ports of call in more than 70 countries. Its ships transport crude oil and refined petroleum products, and its biggest customers include BP PLC (BP), Chevron Corp. (>> Chevron Corporation), ConocoPhillips (>> ConocoPhillips) and Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM).
(Dow Jones Daily Bankruptcy Review covers news about distressed companies and those under bankruptcy protection.)
-By Joseph Checkler; Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2152; email@example.com