🌑New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Blackhawk Mining LLC🌑

Blackhawk Mining LLC

July 19, 2019

What are we averaging? Like, one coal bankruptcy a month at this point? MAGA!!

This week Blackhawk Mining LLC filed prepackaged Chapter 11 cases in the District of Delaware, the effect of which will be the elimination of approximately $650mm of debt from the company’s balance sheet. Unlike other recent bankruptcies, i.e., the absolute and utter train wreck that is the Blackjewel LLC bankruptcy, this case actually has financing and employees aren’t getting left out in the lurch. So, coal country can at least take a deep breath. Small victories!

Before we get into the mechanics of how this deleveraging will work, it’s important to note some of the company’s history. Blackhawk represents opportunism at its best. Founded in 2010 as a strategic vehicle to acquire coal reserves, active mining operations and logistical infrastructure located primarily in the Appalachian Basin, the privately-owned coal producer hit the ground running. Initially the company started with Kentucky thermal coal assets (PETITION Note: thermal coal’s end use is the production of electricity; in contrast, metallurgical coal’s prime use is for the production of steel). It then quickly moved to diversify its product offering with a variety of acquisitions. In 2014, it acquired three mining complexes in the bankruptcy of James River Coal Company (which served as the company’s entry into the production of met coal). Thereafter, in 2015, the company purchased six mining complexes in the bankruptcy of Patriot Coal Company (which has since filed for bankruptcy a second time). This acquisition lofted the company into the highest echelon of US-based met coal production (PETITION Note: met coal drives 76% of the company’s $1.09b in revenue today). The company now operates 19 active underground and 6 active surface mines at 10 active mining complexes in West Virginia and Kentucky. The company has 2,800 employees. 

Naturally, this rapid growth begs some obvious questions: what was the thesis behind all of these acquisitions and how the hell were they financed? 

The investments were a play on an improved met coal market. And, to some degree, this play has proven to be right. Per the company: 

“The Company’s strategic growth proved to be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it significantly increased the Company’s position in the metallurgical coal market at a time when asset prices were depressed relative to today’s prices. The Company continues to benefit from this position in the current market. The price of high volatile A metallurgical coal has risen from $75 per ton to an average of $188 per ton over the last two years, providing a significant tailwind for the Company. On the other hand, the pricing environment for metallurgical coal did not improve until late 2016, and the debt attendant to the Company’s acquisition strategy in 2015 placed a strain on the Company’s ability to maintain its then-existing production profile while continuing to reinvest in the business. During this time, to defer expenses, the Company permanently closed over 10 coal mines (with over 5 million tons of productive capacity), idled the Triad complex, and depleted inventories of spare equipment, parts, and components. Furthermore, once the coal markets began to improve, the Company was forced to make elevated capital expenditures and bear unanticipated increases in costs—for example, employment costs rose approximately 25% between 2016 and 2018—to remain competitive. The confluence of these factors eventually made the Company’s financial position untenable.”

Longs and shorts require the same thing: good timing. 

Alas, the answer to the second question also leads us to the very predicament the company finds itself in today. The company has $1.09b in debt split across, among other things, an ABL facility (’22 $85mm, MidCap Financial LLC), a first lien term loan facility (’22 $639mm, Cantor Fitzgerald Securities), a second lien term loan facility (’21 $318mm, Cortland Capital Markets Services LLC), and $16mm legacy unsecured note issued to a “Patriot Trust” as part of the Patriot Coal asset acquisition. More on this Trust below.

But this is not the first time the company moved to address its capital structure. In a bankruptcy-avoiding move in 2017, the company — on the heals of looming amortization and interest payments on its first and second lien debt — negotiated an out-of-court consensual restructuring with its lenders pursuant to which it kicked the can down the road on the amortization payments to its first lien lenders and deferred cash interest payments to its second lien lenders. If you’re asking yourself, why would the lenders agree to these terms, the answer is, as always, driven by money (and some hopes and prayers). For their part, the first lien lenders obtained covenant amendments, juiced interest rates and an increased principal balance owed while the second lien lenders obtained an interest rate increase. Certain first and second lien lenders also got equity units, board seats and additional voting rights. These terms — onerous in their own way — were a roll of the dice that the environment for met coal would continue to improve and the company could grow into its capital structure. Clearly, that hope proved to be misplaced. 

Indeed, this is the quintessential kick-the-can-down-the-road situation. By spring 2019, Blackhawk again faced a $16mm mandatory amortization payment and $20mm in interest payments due under the first lien term loan. 

Now the first lien lenders will swap their debt for 71% of the reorganized equity and a $225mm new term loan and the second lien lenders will get 29% of the new equity. The “will-met-coal-recover-to-such-a-point-where-the-value-of-the-company-extends-beyond-the-debt?” option play for those second lien lenders has expired. The company seeks to have its plan confirmed by the end of August. The cases will be financed by a $235mm DIP of which $50mm is new money and the remainder will rollup $100mm in first lien term loan claims and $85mm in ABL claims (and ultimately convert to a $90mm exit facility). 

Some other quick notes:

  • Kirkland & Ellis LLP represents the company after pushing Latham & Watkins LLP out in a move that would make Littlefinger proud. This is becoming an ongoing trend: as previously reported, K&E also gave das boot to Latham in Forever21. A war is brewing folks. 

  • The Patriot Trust will get $500k per a settlement baked into the plan. On a $16mm claim. The “Patriot Trust” refers to the liquidating trust that was established in connection with the Patriot Coal Corporation chapter 11 cases, previously filed in the Eastern District of Virginia. Marinate on that for a second: the creditors in that case fought long and hard to have some sort of recovery, won a $16mm claim and now have to settle for $500k. There’s nothing like getting screwed over multiple times in bankruptcy. 

  • But then there’s management: the CEO gets a nice cushy settlement that includes a $500k payment, a seat on the reorganized board of managers (and, presumably, whatever fee comes with that), and a one-year consulting contract. He waives his right to severance. If we had to venture a guess, Mr. Potter will soon find his way onto K&E’s list of “independent” directors for service in other distressed situations too. That list seems to be growing like a weed. 

  • Knighthead Capital Management LLC and Solus Alternative Asset Management LP are the primary holders of first lien paper and now, therefore, own the company. Your country’s steel production, powered by hedge funds! They will each have representation on the board of managers and the ability to jointly appoint an “independent” director. 


  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Silverstein)

  • Capital Structure: See above.

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (James Sprayragen, Ross Kwasteniet, Joseph Graham, Stephen Hessler, Christopher Hayes, Derek Hunter, Barack Echols) & (local) Potter Anderson Corroon LLP (Christopher Swamis, L. Katherine Good) 

    • Financial Advisor: AlixPartners LLP

    • Investment Banker: Centerview Partners (Marc Puntus)

    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on the link above for free docket access)

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Prepetition ABL & DIP ABL Agent: Midcap Funding IV Trust

      • Legal: Hogan Lovells US LLP (Deborah Staudinger)

    • Prepetition & DIP Term Agent: Cantor Fitzgerald Securities

      • Legal: Herrick Feinstein LLP (Eric Stabler, Steven Smith)

    • Second Lien Term Loan Agent: Cortland Capital Market Services LLC

      • Legal: Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP (Alex Cota, Gabriel Sasson)

    • Consenting Term Lenders: Knighthead Capital Management LLC, Solus Alternative Asset Management LP, Redwood Capital Management LLC

      • Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Brian Resnick, Dylan Consla, Daniel Meyer)

    • Ad Hoc Group of First Lien Lenders

      • Legal: Shearman & Sterling LLP (Fredric Sosnick, Ned Schodek)

😷New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Aegerion Pharmaceuticals Inc.😷

Aegerion Pharmaceuticals Inc.

May 20, 2019

We were right and we were wrong. Back in November 2018, in “😬Biopharma is in Pain😬 ,” we snidely wrote, “Do Pills Count as ‘Healthcare’? Short Biopharma” riffing on the common trope that healthcare was a hot spot for restructuring activity.* No, we argued: the activity is really in publicly-traded biopharma companies with little to no sales, too much debt (and usually busted convertible notes) and attractive intellectual property. We went on to predict that Synergy Pharmaceuticals Inc. ($SGYP) and Aegerion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (a subsidiary of Novelion Therapeutics Inc. ($NVLN)) would both file for bankruptcy. Ding ding!!! We were right.** The former filed back in December and, now, the latter is also in bankruptcy court. Of course, with respect to the latter, we also wrote, “[c]ome February — if not sooner — it may be in bankruptcy court.” But let’s not split hairs.***

The company manufactures two approved therapies, JUXTAPID and MYALEPT, that treat rare diseases. On Sunday, we’ll discuss the future of these therapies and what the company seeks to achieve with this restructuring.

*To be fair, the healthcare space has, indeed, picked up in activity since then.

**For what it’s worth, we also predicted that Orchids Paper Products Company ($TIS) would be in bankruptcy soon, writing “This company doesn’t produce enough toilet paper to wipe away this sh*tfest. See you in bankruptcy court.” Three for three: this is precisely why — wait for the shameless plug — you should become a PETITION Member today.

***Maturity of the bridge loan was initially February 15, 2019 but the debtors had a right to extend, which they did.

  • Jurisdiction: Southern District of New York (Judge )

  • Capital Structure: $36.1mm 8% PIK ‘19 secured Novelion Intercompany Loan, $73.8mm Bridge Loan (Highbridge Capital Management LLC and Athyrium Capital Management LP), $304mm 2% unsecured convertible notes (The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company NA)

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP (Paul Shalhoub, Andrew Mordkoff)

    • Financial Advisor/CRO: AlixPartners LLP (John Castellano)

    • Investment Banker: Moelis & Co. (Barak Klein)

    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on the link above for free docket access)

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • DIP Agent: Cantor Fitzgerald Securities

    • Ad Hoc Group of Convertible Noteholders

      • Legal: Latham & Watkins LLP & King & Spalding LLP

      • Financial Advisor: Ducera Partners LLC

    • Novelion

      • Legal: Goodwin Proctor LLP & Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP

      • Financial Advisor: Evercore

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Pernix Therapeutics/Pernix Sleep Inc.

Pernix Therapeutics/Pernix Sleep Inc.

February 18, 2019

In our January 30th Members’-only briefing entitled “😢Who Will Remember Things Remembered?😢 ,” we included a segment subtitled “Pharma Continues to Show Distress (Long Opioid-Related BK)” in which we discussed how Pernix Therapeutics Holdings Inc. ($PTX) looked like an imminent bankruptcy candidate. We noted how the company had previously staved off bankruptcy thanks to a refinancing transaction with Highbridge Capital Management. That refinancing now looks like a perfectly-executed loan-to-own strategy: Phoenix Top Holdings LLC, an affiliate of Highbridge, will serve as the stalking horse bidder of the company’s assets in exchange for $75.6mm plus the assumption of certain liabilities. Highbridge will also, after a competitive process pitted against other debtholders like Deerfield Management Company LP, provide the Debtors with a $34.1mm DIP facility — of which $15mm is new money, $5mm is an accordian facility, and the rest is a roll-up of the pre-petition ABL.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge [ ])

  • Capital Structure: see link above.

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Marshall Huebner, Eli Vonnegut, Christopher Robertson) & (local) Landis Rath & Cobb LLP (Adam Landis, Kerri Mumford, Jennifer Cree, Nicolas Jenner)

    • Financial Advisor: Guggenheim Partners LLC (Stuart Erickson)

    • Investment Banker: Ernst & Young LLP

    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on the link above for free docket access)

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Stalking Horse Purchaser: Phoenix Top Holdings LLC (a Highbridge Capital Management affiliate)

    • Large debtholder: Deerfield Management Company LP

      • Legal: Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

    • DIP Agent: Cantor Fitzgerald Securities

      • Legal: Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP (Sarah Ward)

Updated: 2/19/19 at 8:51 CT

✈️New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - ONE Aviation Corporation✈️

ONE Aviation Corporation

10/9/18

ONE Aviation Corporation, a New Mexico-based OEM of twin-engine light jet aircraft (e.g., the Eclipse jet, a twin-turbofan very light jet or “VLJ”), filed a prepackaged bankruptcy case that will give 97-100% of the equity to its senior prepetition lender, Citiking International US LLC. Holders of senior secured notes will get 3% of the equity and warrants if they check the “yes” vote in the “death trap” plan of reorganization. General unsecured claimants will get a big fat zero and a bunch of court-mandated paper to throw into the recycling bin. Citiking is providing the company with a $17mm DIP credit facility that will roll into an exit facility upon emergence from chapter 11.

The company has $198.8mm of total funded debt, including approximately $53.2mm representing amounts owed to certain state and local governments in the form of development loans. Womp womp.

Why is there a bankruptcy here? The company pursued growth strategies that simply never came to fruition, including targeting the “air taxi” industry and development of new capital-intensive airplane models. The company notes:

That strategy ultimately proved unsuccessful in the near term because, in addition to the negative macro-factors, including the condition of the U.S. and global economies, ONE Aviation was unable to raise the capital needed to complete the new airplane programs. The VLJ market, a market dependent on luxury spending, simply had not recovered from its downturn in 2008.

Liquidity, therefore, became constrained as the company found itself caught between building for the future and sustaining today. After a considerable sales and marketing process conducted by multiple bankers (Guggenheim Securities, first, Duff & Phelps, second) both in the U.S. and internationally, the company had no luck finding strategic or financial buyers. Hence bankruptcy with a plan to convey the company over to the prepetition first lien lender.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Sontchi)

  • Capital Structure: $58.6mm first lien RCF (Citiking), $43.3mm subordinated secured notes (Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company, N.A.), $20.5mm subordinated unsecured notes

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: Paul Hastings LLP (Chris Dickerson, Brendan Gage, Nathan Gimpel, Todd Schwartz, Stephen Bandrowsky) & (local) Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Robert Brady, M. Blake Cleary, Sean Beach, Jaime Lutan Chapman)

    • Financial Advisor: Ernst & Young LLP (Briana Richards, Brian Yano)

    • Investment Banker: Duff & Phelps Securities LLC (Vineet Batra)

    • Board of Directors: Michael Wyse, Jonathan Dwight, Alan Klapmeier, Kevin Gould, RJ Siegel

    • Claims Agent: Epiq Corporate Restructuring LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Administrative Agent & Collateral Agent: Cantor Fitzgerald Securities

      • Legal: Richards Kibbe & Orbe LLP (Gregory Plotko, Christopher Jarvinen) & (local) Ashby & Geddes PA (Gregory Taylor, Stacy Newman)

    • Senior Prepetition Lender: Citiking International US LLC

      • Legal: Emmet Marvin & Martin LLP (Thomas Pitta) & (local) Ashby & Geddes PA (Gregory Taylor, Stacy Newman)

    • Senior Subordinated Secured Noteholders

      • Legal: Manning Gross + Massenburg LLP (Marc Phillips)

Updated 10/9/18 at 5:12pm CT

New Chapter 11 Filing - Knight Energy Holdings LLC

Knight Energy Holdings LLC

  • 8/8/17 Recap: We were starting to sleep on the oil and gas services space. This trainwreck - which had been kicking around for quite a while - is finally in bankruptcy court. We could bore you with the usual details about services companies sucking wind ever since gas prices imploded - what was it? nearly 24 months ago? - but why waste precious space when we can amuse you with stories of drug racketeering instead? After all, "People Make the Difference." Hahaha. Anyway, we guess it's our duty to, in fact, bore you with some more of the mundane restructuring facts so we will once we have more information. For now, we understand that the filing is pursuant to a restructuring support agreement and the debtors seek a multi-draw DIP credit facility of $10mm. More to come.
  • Jurisdiction: W.D. of Louisiana (Judge Summerhays)
  • Capital Structure: $mm debt     
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Heller Draper Patrick Horn & Dabney, LLC (Douglas Draper, William Patrick III, Tristan Manthey, Cherie Nobles)
    • Financial Advisor: Opportune LLP (Gary Pittman)
    • Investment Banker: Bayshore Partners (Michael Turner)
    • Claims Agent: Donlin Recano & Company Inc. (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Sponsor: Clearlake Capital Group LP
    • DIP Agent: Cantor Fitzgerald Securities
    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors
      • Legal: Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz PC (Jan M. Hayden, Edward H. Arnold III, Lacey Rochester, Susan Matthews)

Updated 9/21/17

New Chapter 11 Filing - Keystone Tube Company LLC (A.M. Castle & Co.)

Keystone Tube Company LLC (A.M. Castle & Co.)

  • 6/18/17 Recap: Publicly-traded ($CASL) Illinois-based specialty metals distribution company with customers in some hard hit sectors of late, e.g., oil and gas, retail, mining, defense, filed a prepackaged bankruptcy case to de-lever its balance sheet. 
  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware 
  • Capital Structure: $112mm first lien debt (Cantor Fitzgerald Securities), $177mm
  • 18 12.75% second lien notes (US Bank NA), $22.3mm '19 5.25% convertible third lien notes (US Bank NA)     
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP (Richard Pachulski, Jeffrey Pomerantz, Maxim Litvak, John Lucas, Peter Keane)
    • Financial Advisor & Investment Banker: Imperial Capital LLC (Joseph Kazanovski)
    • Claims Agent: KCC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Ad Hoc Lender Committee (At Filing: Corre Partners Management LLC, Highbridge Capital Management LLC, SGF Inc., Pandora Select Partners LP, Whitebox Advisors LLC, Wolverine Asset Management Ltd.)
      • Legal (except SGF Inc.): Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP (Andrew Rosenberg, Jacob Adlerstein, Michael Rudnick) & (local) Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Pauline Morgan, Joel Waite, Ian Bambrick)
      • Legal (SGF Inc): Goodwin Proctor LLP (Michael Goldstein, Gregory Fox) & (local) Pepper Hamilton LLP (David Fournier, John Schanne)
      • Financial Advisor: Ducera LLC
    • Prepetition First Lien Agent: Cantor Fitzgerald Securities
      • Legal: Shipman & Goodwin LLP
    • Prepetition Indenture Trustee: US Bank NA
      • Legal: Dorsey & Whitney LLP (Eric Lopez Schnabel, Robert Mallard, Alessandra Glorioso)
    • Administrative Agent: PNC Bank NA
      • Legal: Goldberg Kohn Ltd (Jacob Marshall, Danielle Juhle) & (local) Blank Rome LLP (Josef Mintz)
    • Bank of America NA
      • Legal: Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP (Jody Barillare, Rachel Jaffe Mauceri)
    • Nantahala Capital Management
      • Legal: King & Spalding LLP (Arthur Steinberg) & (local) The Rosner Law Group LLC (Frederick Rosner)

Updated 7/11/17 6:22 pm

Source: First Day Declaration.

Source: First Day Declaration.