⚡️New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Empire Generating Co LLC⚡️

Empire Generating Co LLC

May 19, 2019

We love when companies that have been circling around the bankruptcy bowl finally get flushed into bankruptcy court. Empire Generating Company is a name that has been kicking around distressed circles for some time now: The Wall Street Journal wrote about it a year ago, back in May 2018. Alas, it now sits within the Southern District of New York. It is the latest in a line of power producers to file for bankruptcy in recent years.

The company owns and operates a (now) dual-fuel power plant in Rensselaer New York; as a merchant power plant, it sells electricity in the wholesale market that ultimately helps power New York’s electrical grid. Very soon, it will likewise be able to generate revenue in New England. In fiscal year 2017, the company generated $91.8mm of revenue and $16.77 of EBITDA. EBITDA decreased to $11.05mm in 2018. The company also has a meaningful amount of debt. As of the petition date, its outstanding owed amounts under its credit facility total $353.4mm. Its $20mm revolver matured in March 2019.

The company cites some interesting causes for its filing. First, it gives an economics 101 lesson, saying that coal and nuclear facilities in New York haven’t been retired quickly enough to limit electricity supply and put upward pressure on prices. Second, it blames progressives (Cuomo!!): New York’s Clean Energy Standard requires that 50% of NY’s electricity come from renewables by 2030, creating yet another supply/demand imbalance that has placed “downward pressure on the price for energy generated by other sources.” Third, unlike retailers who blame bad weather for under performance all of the time, this company actually has a viable excuse: the abnormally cold winter of 2017/2018 increased natural gas prices, compressing the company’s margins. At the time, the company wasn’t yet “dual-fuel” and, therefore, relied exclusively on natural gas whereas competitors could toggle to more economical fuel oil instead. This confluence of factors ultimately led the company to default under its loan docs.

The company has since been in a state of perpetual forbearance with an ad hoc group of pre-petition lenders. It was on the verge of a prepackaged solution to its balance sheet but time ticked away and the company’s pesky lenders traded out of their respective positions. Per the company:

Once the debt trades settled, approximately 55% of the Credit Facility was held by the Consenting Lenders (Black Diamond and MJX), and approximately 34% of the Credit Facility was held by funds managed by Ares Capital (“Ares”).

For the uninitiated, debtors need 2/3 of the amount of a particular tranche of debt to approve a deal for a plan of reorganization to be confirmed by the bankruptcy court. As you can see from the percentages above, Ares Capital and the “Consenting Lenders” (Black Diamond Capital Management LLC & MJX Asset Management LLC) had “blocking positions,” eliminating the possibility of surpassing the required threshold. Months of negotiations ensued and, apparently, Ares and Black Diamond simply couldn’t get along. Uh, yeah, bros: Black Diamond is kinda known for not getting along. Just sayin.

In lieu of an agreement with those parties, the company has secured, pursuant to a restructuring support agreement, a commitment by Black Diamond Capital Management LLC & MJX Asset Management LLC to credit bid — subject to higher and better offers — their debt in exchange for a 100% interest in the reorganized company. The company has, in turn, rejected a proposal from Ares Capital that would confer $37.8mm in cash and 89.75% equity of an acquisition vehicle as consideration for the company’s assets (which it values at a total of $369mm). Why? It concluded that the offer was neither higher nor better than the credit bid; it also had concerns about valuation, approval and feasibility (feasibility!!!!!). Otherwise, the company be like, “PEACE, B*TCHES, WE DON’T WANT NO PART OF THIS INTERCREDITOR DISPUTE.”

And an intercreditor dispute there is! Ares objected right away to the company’s proposed cash collateral, among other things, saying that Black Diamond is steering the company like a meek little sheep. The objection is too lengthy to recant here but, suffice it to say, it looks like we can expect an old school private equity battle over the course of the case. Judge Drain more or less shot down Ares at the hearing, questioning, even, whether they had standing to object; he then went on to amend the proposed cash collateral order.

Absent a settlement between the funds, this will not be the last fight in the case. Pop the popcorn.

  • Jurisdiction: (Judge Drain)

  • Capital Structure: $20mm RCF, $430mm Term B loan, $30mm Term C loan

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Steinhilber Swanson LLP (Michael Richman) & Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP (Peter Partee Sr., Robert Rich, Michael Legge)

    • Financial Advisor: RPA Advisors (Chip Cummins)

    • Investment Banker:

    • Claims Agent: Omni Management Group (*click on the link above for free docket access)

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Secured Lenders: Black Diamond Capital Management LLC & MJX Asset Management LLC

      • Legal: Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP (Christine Okike, Albert Hogan III, Carl Tullson)

    • Secured Lender: Ares Capital LP

      • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (James Sprayragen, Brian Schartz, Anup Sathy, Stephen Hackney, Alexandra Schwarzman)

    • Secured Lender: Starwood

      • Legal: Vinson & Elkins LLP (Steven Abramowitz)

    • Ad Hoc Group

      • Legal: Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP

    • Agent: Ankura Trust Company

      • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Darren Klein)

😷New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Trident Holding Company LLC😷

Trident Holding Company LLC

February 10, 2019

It looks like all of those 2018 predictions about healthcare-related distress were off by a year. We’re merely in mid-February and already there has been a full slate of healthcare bankruptcy filings. Here, Trident Holding Company LLC, a Maryland-based provider of bedside diagnostic and other services (i.e., x-ray, ultrasound, cardiac monitoring) filed for bankruptcy in the Southern District of New York. What’s interesting about the filing is that it is particularly light on detail: it includes the standard description of the capital structure and recent efforts to restructure, but there is a dearth of information about the history of the company and its financial performance. There is, however, a restructuring support agreement with the company’s priority first lien lenders.

Here’s a quick look at the company’s capital structure which is a large factor driving the company into bankruptcy:

Source: First Day Declaration

Source: First Day Declaration

As you can see, the company has a considerable amount of debt. The above-reflected “Priority First Lien Facility” is a fairly recent development, having been put in place as recently as April 2018. That facility, provided by Silver Point, includes a $27.1mm prepayment fee triggered upon the filing of the bankruptcy case. That’s certain to be a point of interest to an Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors. It also contributed to an onerous amount of debt service. Per the company:

In the midst of market and competitive challenges, Trident has significant debt service obligations. Over the course of 2018, Trident paid approximately $26,185,667.75 in cash interest on the Secured Credit Facilities. On January 31, 2019, the Company missed an interest payment of $9,187,477.07 on the Secured Credit Facilities, resulting in an Event of Default on February 8, 2019 after the cure period expired.

But, wait. There’s more. The recent uptick in distressed healthcare activity is beginning to aggregate and create a trickle-down bankruptcies-creating-bankruptcies effect:

Moreover, a number of recent customer bankruptcies – including those of Senior Care Centers, LLC, 4 West Holdings, Inc., and Promise Healthcare Group, LLC – have exacerbated the Company’s liquidity shortfall by limiting the collectability of amounts owed from these entities. A number of other customers who have not yet filed bankruptcy cases are generally not paying the Debtors within contractual terms due to their own liquidity problems. As a result of these collection difficulties and challenges with the new billing system in the Sparks Glencoe billing center, the Debtors recorded $27.8 million of extraordinary bad debt expense in 2018 and $12.7 million in 2017.

Ouch. Not to state the obvious, but if the start of 2019 is any indication, this is only going to get worse. The company estimates a net operating cash loss of $9.1mm in the first 30 days of the case.

Given the company’s struggles and burdensome capital structure, the company has been engaging its lenders for well over a year. In the end, however, it couldn’t work out an out-of-court resolution. Instead, the company filed its bankruptcy with a “restructuring support agreement” with Silver Point which, on account of its priority first lien holdings, is positioned well to drive this bus. And by “drive this bus,” we mean jam the junior creditors. Per the RSA, Silver Point will provide a $50mm DIP and drive the company hard towards a business plan and plan of reorganization. Indeed, the business plan is due within 36 days and a disclosure statement is due within a week thereafter. Meanwhile, the RSA as currently contemplated, gives Silver Point $105mm of take-back term loan paper and 100% of the equity of the company (subject to dilution). The first lien holders have a nice blank in the RSA next to their recovery amount and that recovery is predicated upon…wait for it…

…a “death trap.” That is, if they accept the plan they’ll currently get “ [●]%” but if they reject the plan they’ll get a big fat donut. Likewise, the second lien holders. General unsecured claimants would get a pro rata interest in a whopping $100k. Or the equivalent of what Skadden will bill in roughly, call it, 3 days of work??

The business plan, meanwhile, ought to be interesting. By all appearances, the company is in the midst of a massive strategic pivot. In addition to undertaking a barrage of operational fixes “…such as optimized pricing, measures to improve revenue cycle management by increasing collection rates, rationalizing certain services, reducing labor costs, better managing vendor spend, and reducing insurance costs,” the company intends to focus on its core business and exit unprofitable markets. While it retreats in certain respects, it also intends to expand in others: for instance, the company intends to “expand home health services to respond to the shifting of patients from [skilled nursing facilities] into home care.” Per the company:

Toward this end, Trident conducted successful home health care pilot programs in 2018 in two markets to optimize its Care at Home business model with radiology technicians dedicated to servicing home health patients. Trident hopes to expand this business model to an additional seven markets in 2019.

Like we said, a pivot. Which begs the question “why?” In addition to the debt, the company noted several other factors that drove it into bankruptcy. Chief among them? The rise of home health care. More from the company:

Trident has suffered ripple effects from the distress faced by skilled nursing facilities (“SNF”), which are its primary direct customers. SNF occupancy rates have declined to a multi-year low as a result of structural and reimbursement changes not yet offset by demographic trends. These structural changes include, among other things, patient migration to home health care. The decline in SNF occupancy rates has led to reduced demand for Trident’s services. At the same time, Trident has only had limited success reducing costs in response to lower volumes, as volume declines are driven by lower utilization per facility rather than a reduction in the number of facilities served.

This is a trend worth continued watching. Who else — like Trident — will be affected by this?

Large general unsecured creditors of the business include Grosvenor Capital Management, Jones Day (to the tune of $2.3mm…yikes), Konica Minolta Healthcare Americas Inc., McKesson ($MCK)(again!!…rough couple of weeks at McKesson), Quest Diagnostics Inc. ($DGX), Cardinal Health Inc. ($CAH) and others. They must be really jacked up about that pro rata $100k!!

  • Jurisdiction: S.D. of New York (Judge Lane)

  • Capital Structure: see above.

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP (Paul Leake, Jason Kestecher, James Mazza Jr., Justin Winerman)

    • Independent Director: Alexander D. Greene

    • Financial Advisor: Ankura Consulting (Russell Perry, Ben Jones)

    • Investment Banker: PJT Partners LP (Mark Buschmann, Josh Abramson, Willie Evarts, Meera Satiani, Elsa Zhang)

    • Claims Agent: Epiq Bankruptcy Solutions LLC (*click on the link above for free docket access)

  • Other Professionals:

    • Priority First Lien Admin Agent: SPCP Group LLC/Silver Point Finance LLC

      • Legal: Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP (Alan Kornberg, Robert Britton, Lewis Clayton, Aidan Synnott, Christman Rice, Michael Turkel)

      • Financial Advisor: Houlihan Lokey LP

    • First Lien Agent: Cortland Capital Market Services LLC

      • Legal: White & Case LLP (Thomas Lauria, Erin Rosenberg, Jason Zakia, Harrison Denman, John Ramirez)

    • Ad Hoc Group of First Lien Lenders

      • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (Patrick Nash)

      • Financial Advisor: Greenhill & Co. Inc.

    • Second Lien Agent: Ares Capital Corporation

    • Ad Hoc Group of Second Lien Lenders

      • Legal: Latham & Watkins (Richard Levy, James Ktsanes)

    • Large Creditor: McKesson Medical-Surgical Inc.

      • Legal: Buchalter P.C. (Jeffrey Garfinkle)

    • Large Creditor: Quest Diagnostics

      • Legal: Morris James LLP (Brett Fallon)

    • Equity Sponsor: Revelstoke Capital Partners

      • Legal: Winston & Strawn LLP (Carey Schreiber, Carrie Hardman)

    • Equity Sponsor: Welltower Inc.

      • Legal: Sidley Austin LLP (Andrew Propps, Bojan Guzina)

    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors

      • Legal: Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP (David Posner, Gianfranco Finizio, Kelly Moynihan)

      • Financial Advisor: AlixPartners LLP (David MacGreevey)



New Chapter 11 Filing - Panda Temple Power LLC

Panda Temple Power LLC

  • 4/18/17 Recap: Texas-based gas-operated merchant power generator servicing the ERCOT region filed for bankruptcy because demand projections were too robust (in the face of increasing share serviced by alternative energy sources), depressed natural gas prices crushed revenues, and a regulatory attempt to reform to a capacity market failed, among other reasons. The company had been downgraded and operating pursuant to a forbearance with its lenders. Now, the company is in bankruptcy with a restructuring support agreement that outlines the terms of a transaction that will swap the term loan for 100% of the equity in the company. The company will have a $20mm DIP in play to effectuate the transaction.
  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware
  • Capital Structure: $398.7mm funded '22 first lien TL (inclusive of LOC and RCF - Wilmington Trust, NA)  
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Latham & Watkins LLP (Keith Simon, Annemarie Reilly, Marc Zelina) & (local) Richards Layton & Finger (John Knight, Paul Heath, Brendan Schlauch, Christopher De Lillo)
    • Investment Banker: Ducera Partners (Mark Davis)
    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on company name for docket)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Ad Hoc Group of Term Lenders (Ares Capital Corporation, Avenue Capital Management II LP, Brigade Capital Management LP, Canaras Capital Management, GSO Capital Partners LP, H.I.G. WhiteHorse Capital LLC, Lord Abbett & Co. LLC, MJX Asset Management LLC, Oaktree Capital Management LP, Siemens Financial Services Inc., SOF-X Credit Holdings LLC (Starwood Credit Advisors LLC), Western Asset Management Company)
      • Legal: Stroock Stroock & Lavan LLP (Jayme Goldstein, Jonathan Canfield, Joanne Lau) & (local) Young Conaway & Stargatt LLP (Edmon Morton, Matthew Lunn, Ashley Jacobs)
      • Financial Advisor: Houlihan Lokey
    • 3M Employee Retirement Income Plan Trust
      • Legal: Blank Rome LLP (Jeffrey Rhodes, Ira Herman, Stanley Tarr)

Updated 5/3/17 

New Chapter 11 Filing - Halt Medical Inc.

Halt Medical Inc.

  • 4/12/17 Recap: Brentwood California medical device company filed for bankruptcy because Ares Capital HALTed funding (#dadjoke). The company owns an FDA-cleared proprietary and patented product that uses radiofrequency ablation to destroy uterine fibroids. Yeah, we have no idea what that means either but the use case is bada$$: it is a minimally-intrusive alternative to hysterectomies and myomectomies. The company has lined up a $4.16mm DIP credit facility to fund the cases while it seeks an asset sale to Murray Enterprises LLC as stalking horse bidder. 
  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware 
  • Capital Structure: $155.6mm debt (Ares Capital Ltd., as successor to American Capital Ltd.)    
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP (Steven Kortanek, Patrick Jackson, Joseph Argentina Jr.) & (Special corporate counsel) Cooley LLP (Robert Eisenbach)
    • Investment Banker: Canaccord Genuity Group Inc. (Geoffrey Richards)
    • Claims Agent: Donlin Recano & Co. Inc. (*click on company name above for free docket access)
    • Other Parties in Interest:
      • Buyer: Acessa AssetCo LLC (affiliate of Murray Enterprises LLC)
        • Legal: Smith Gambrell & Russell LLP (Brian Hall) & Landis Rath & Cobb LLP (Adam Landis, Kerri Muford)

Updated 4/22/17 (note: no UCC appointed)