⛽️New Chapter 11 Filing - Southcross Energy Partners LP⛽️

Southcross Energy Partners LP

April 1, 2019

We’ve been noting — in “⛽️Is Oil & Gas Distress Back?⛽️“ (March 6) and “Oil and Gas Continues to Crack (Long Houston-Based Hotels)“ (March 24) that oil and gas was about to rear its ugly head right back into bankruptcy court. Almost on cue, Vanguard Natural Resources Inc. filed for bankruptcy in Texas on the last day of Q1 and, here, Southcross Energy Partners LP kicked off Q2.

Dallas-based Southcross Energy Partners LP is a publicly-traded company ($SXEE) that provides midstream services to nat gas producers/customers, including nat gas gathering, processing, treatment and compression and access to natural gas liquid (“NGL”) fractionation and transportation services; it also purchases and sells nat gas and NGL; its primary assets and operations are located in the Eagle Ford shale region of South Texas, though it also operates in Mississippi (sourcing power plants via its pipelines) and Alabama. It and its debtor affiliates generated $154.8mm in revenues in the three months ended 09/30/18, an 11% YOY decrease.

Why are the debtors in bankruptcy? Because natural gas prices collapsed in 2015 and have yet to really meaningfully recover — though they are up from the $1.49 low of March 4, 2016. As we write this, nat gas prices at $2.70. These prices, combined with too much leverage (particularly in comparison to competitors that flushed their debt through bankruptcy) and facility shutdowns, created strong headwinds the company simply couldn’t surmount. It now seeks to use the bankruptcy process to gain access to much needed capital and sell to a buyer to maximize value. The company does not appear to have a stalking horse bidder lined up.

The debtors have a commitment for $137.5mm of new-money post-petition financing to fund its cases. Use of proceeds? With the agreement of its secured parties, the debtors seek to pay all trade creditors in the ordinary course of business. If approved by the court, this would mean that the debtors will likely avoid having to contend with an official committee of unsecured creditors and that only the secured creditors and holders of unsecured sponsor notes would have lingering pre-petition claims — a strong power move by the debtors.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Walrath)

  • Capital Structure: $81.1mm funded ‘19 RCF (Wells Fargo Bank NA), $430.875mm ‘21 TL (Wilmington Trust NA), $17.4mm unsecured sponsor notes (Wells Fargo NA)

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Marshall Heubner, Darren Klein, Steven Szanzer, Benjamin Schak) & (local) Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell LLP (Robert Dehney, Andrew Remming, Joseph Barsalona II, Eric Moats)

    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal LLC

    • Investment Banker: Evercore Group LLC

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Prepetition RCF & Unsecured Agent: Wells Fargo Bank NA

      • Legal: Vinson & Elkins LLP (William Wallander, Brad Foxman, Matt Pyeatt) & (local) Womble Bond Dickinson US LLP (Ericka Johnson)

    • Prepetition TL & DIP Agent ($255mm): Wilmington Trust NA

      • Legal: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP (Seth Kleinman, Alan Glantz)

    • Post-Petition Lenders and Ad Hoc Group

      • Legal: Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP (Joseph Minias, Paul Shalhoub, Leonard Klingbaum, Debra McElligott) & (local) Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Edmon Morton, Matthew Lunn)

    • Southcross Holdings LP

      • Legal: Debevoise & Plimpton LLP (Natasha Labovitz)

    • Stalking Horse Bidder:

Updated 9:39 CT

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Catalina Marketing Corporation

Catalina Marketing Corporation

12/12/18

On September 16 in “🤖Tech Wants to Axe Lawyers🤖,” we wrote about Crossmark Holdings Inc.Acosta Inc., and Catalina Marketing (a unit of Checkout Holding Corp.) and noted that “[a]ll three are in trouble.” Catalina Marketing was the first domino to fall as it filed for bankruptcy in the District of Delaware.

In connection with our review of the three companies, we previously wrote:

Finally, Catalina Marketing finds itself paying restructuring fees these days too. The St. Petersburg Florida company is owned by Berkshire Partners and Hellman & FriedmanCrescent Capital is also a large equity holder. The company’s capital structure includes approximately:

$29mm April ‘19 L+3.5% Revolving Credit Facility

$1.05b April ‘21 L+3.5% Term Loan (~48.4 bid)

$460mm April ‘22 L+6.75% Second Lien Term Loan (~11.6 bid)

$230mm PIK Toggle unsecured notes

Carry the one, add the two, that’s over $5b of debt across all three companies. Gotta love private equity.

So, yes, yet another private equity-backed company is in bankruptcy court. Here, the company appears to have an agreement with 90% of its first lien lenders (Abry Advanced Securities Fund II and III, Alcentra Limited, Bain Capital Credit LP, Carlyle Investment Management LLC, Invesco Senior Secured Management Inc., and OppenheimerFunds Inc.), and 75% of its second lien lenders, the effect of which is purported to be a $1.6b — yes, $1.6 BILLION — debt reduction. An ad hoc group of first lien lenders has agreed to provide $275mm DIP credit facility (of which $125mm is new money) and committed to provide $40mm in exit financing.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Gross)

  • Capital Structure: see above.

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP (Gary Holtzer, Ronit Berkovich, Jessica Liou, Kevin Bostel, Alexander Condon, Elizabeth Carens, Michael Godbe, Lisa Lansio, Leonard Yoo, Patrick Steel, David Zubkis, Theodore Tsekerides, Peter Isakoff) & (local) Richards Layton & Finger PA (Mark Collins, Jason Madron)

    • Financial Advisor: FTI Consulting Inc. (Robert Del Genio, Thomas Ackerman)

    • Investment Banker: Centerview Partners

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • DIP Lenders and the Ad Hoc First Lien Lenders

      • Legal: Jones Day (Scott Greenberg, Michael J. Cohen, David Torborg, Stacey Corr-Irvine, Jeremy Evans, C. Lee Wilson) and (local) Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP represent the DIP Lenders and the Ad Hoc First Lien Lenders. 

    • Ad Hoc Group of Second Lien Lenders

      • Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Harrison (Brian Hermann, Robert Britton, Daniel Youngblut, Miriam Levi) and (local) Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Pauline Morgan, Andrew Magaziner)

    • Admin Agent of the First Lien Credit Agrement

      • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Brian Resnick, David Schiff) and Landis Rath & Cobb LLP (Adam Landis, Kerri Mumford)

    • Admin agent under the Second Lien Credit Agreement

      • Legal: Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr (Andrew Goldman, Benjamin Loveland)

    • Ad Hoc Group of the PIK Toggle notes

      • Legal: Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

🔥New Chapter 11 Filing - Westmoreland Coal Company🔥

Westmoreland Coal Company

October 9, 2018

In our April piece entitled "🌑Trouble Brews in Coal Country🌑," we noted how Westmoreland Coal Company ($WLB) was headed towards a bankruptcy filing. Subsequently, in May, the company obtained a small round of financing ($90mm) to bridge itself to a chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. Alas, we're upon that filing — a “Chapter 33,” of sorts, for good measure.

And it’s an…interesting…one. The company’s First Day Declaration leads with “What is Coal” and then goes on to mansplain what coal is. It’s beautiful. It’s educational. It’s…odd. Per the Declaration:

Coal is a fossil fuel that forms from the remains of vegetation as long as 400 million years ago. The plants from eons ago captured energy through photosynthesis to create compounds (carbon) in plant tissue. When those plants and trees died, they ultimately sank to the bottom of swamps and formed a dense material called peat, which progressively carbonized under the earth’s pressure and changing temperatures and eventually became a combustible sedimentary and metamorphic rock, which is referred to as coal.

There are at least four ranks of coal, depending on the carbon content: lignite; subbituminous; bituminous; and anthracite. Some estimate that 90 percent of the coal in America is bituminous (i.e., soft) coal, which is primarily used to make electricity through combustion in boilers to make steam that is used to generate power (called steam or thermal coal) and coke for the steel industry (metallurgical or coking coal). The Debtors mine lignite, subbituminous, and bituminous coal.

We are thankful for the explanation. After all, there haven’t been many opportunities over the last decade to explore the intersection of coal and bankruptcy. Oh…wait. Hang on. Right. Ok, sure, there was Peabody Energy. Ah, yeah, and Alpha Natural Resources. And Edison Mission Energy, Patriot Coal (x2), Walter Energy, Arch Coal, Xinergy, Armstrong Energy and James River Coal. To name a few. But we digress.

Anyway, THIS bankruptcy implicates Westmoreland (with affiliates, “WLB”), a thermal coal producer that sells coal to “investment grade power plants under long-term cost-protected contracts, as well as to industrial customers and barbeque charcoal manufacturers.” The company’s mines are located in Montana, North Dakota, Texas, Ohio and New Mexico, of which only 4 of a total of 23 are active. The company’s strategy generally revolves around focusing on coal markets where the company can leverage geographic proximity to power plants, some of which were specifically designed to use the company’s coal. Close proximity also permits the company to avoid onerous transportation costs, which, in turn, provides the company with flexibility to be a low(er) cost provider. There is a bit of an export business as well.

The problem is that “[t]he American coal industry is intensely competitive.” The company adds:

In addition to competition from other coal producers, the Debtors compete with producers of alternative fuels used for electrical power generation, such as nuclear energy, natural gas, hydropower, petroleum, solar, and wind. Costs and other factors such as safety, environmental, and regulatory considerations related to alternative fuels affect the overall demand for coal as a fuel. Political dynamics in the United States and Canada have additionally resulted in a reduction of the market demand for coal-based energy solutions.

Tack on a hefty chunk of debt:

And then mix in that the company is (i) subject to 7 collective bargaining agreements and, (ii) in addition to a multi-employer pension plan, that it also provides defined benefit pension plans to qualified employees — which, naturally, are underfunded by approximately $29mm and carry a termination liability of approximately $77.3mm. But wait, there’s more. The company also has, among other things, approximately (i) $1.3mm in retiree medical obligations, (ii) $18.2mm in federal regulatory Black Lung Act obligations, (iii) $334mm of “other post-employment benefit” obligations and (iv) asset retirement obligations of approximately $474.5mm. Why anyone would want to get into the coal business is beyond us. That all sounds outright depressing.

The company blames the following for its bankruptcy filing: (a) a challenging macro environment (⬇️ production and ⬇️demand); (b) a capital intensive business model; (c) the rise of natural gas as a lower cost alternative to coal (score one for the frackers!); and (d) regulation which, as you can see from the panoply of liabilities noted above, helps create a quite a heavy hitter lineup of economic obligations. Per the company:

When coupled with the external pricing pressure, increased regulation, political opposition to coal in the United States and Canada, and other costs associated with WLB’s businesses, these liabilities have hindered WLB’s ability to operate competitively in the current market environment.

And so the company has filed its chapter 11 bankruptcy with the consent of 76% of its term lenders, 57.9% of its senior secured noteholders and 79.1% of its bridge lenders to pursue a dual-track sale of its core assets to an entity to be formed on behalf of the senior secured noteholders and term lenders, subject to highest or best offers for the core assets at an auction. The sale will be consummated through a plan to, among other things, preserve tax benefits. The company will also continue to market its non-core assets. Likewise, the master limited partnership 94% owned by the company (“WMLP”) is for sale. Notably, with no prospect of a restructuring on the horizon, there is no deal in place with the unions and retirees and WLB may have to proceed on a non-consensual basis.

The company marched in to court with a commitment for a $110mm DIP. It will roll-up the bridge loan and fund the cases while the sale processes progress.

Update: In “Grocery Workers, Miners, and Who Ain’t Getting Paid (Short #MAGA),” we noted how coal miners employed by Westmoreland Coal Company were, due to a recent decision by Judge Jones in the Southern District of Texas, in for a world of hurt. Now the company has officially filed its motion seeking to reject certain collective bargaining agreements and modify certain retiree benefits pursuant to sections 1113 and 1114 of the Bankruptcy Code. #MAGA!!

Update: On January 21, 2019, the company filed a “Notice of Cancellation of Auction and Designation of Successful Bidder” after the company didn’t receive any qualified bids for its core assets other than the original stalking horse bid. The company’s Buckingham Mine, a non-core asset, did, in contrast, receive some interest and the company, therefore, will seek to sell that mine in due time.

  • Jurisdiction: S.D of Texas (Judge Jones)

  • Capital Structure: See above.

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (James Sprayragen, Edward Sassower, Stephen Hessler, Michael Slade, Greg Pesce, Anna Rotman, Christopher Koenig, Gerardo Mijares-Shafai, Timothy Bow) & (local) Jackson Walker LLP (Patricia Tomasco, Matthew Cavenaugh)

    • Legal Conflicts Counsel to Westmoreland Resource Partners LP and the Conflicts Committee of the Board of Directors of Westmoreland Resources GP LLC: Jones Day (Heather Lennox, Timothy Hoffman, Oliver Zeltner)

    • Financial Advisor to Westmoreland Resource Partners LP and the Conflicts Committee of the Board of Directors of Westmoreland Resources GP LLC: Lazard Freres & Co. LLC (Tyler Cowan)

    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal North America LLC (Robert Campagna)

    • Investment Banker: Centerview Partners LLC (Marc Puntus)

    • Claims Agent: Donlin Recano & Co. (*click on company name above for free docket access)

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • WMLP Ad Hoc Group

      • Legal: Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP (David Hillman, Kristine Manoukian, Lucy Kweskin, Kelly Knight) & (local) Jones Walker LLP (Joseph Bain, Mark Mintz)

      • Financial Advisor: Houlihan Lokey Capital, Inc.

    • Administrative Agent under Bridge Loan & DIP Agreements: Wilmington Savings Fund Society FSB

      • Legal: Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP (Andrew Goldman, Benjamin Loveland) & (local) Okin Adams LLP (Matthew Okin, David Curry Jr.)

    • WMB Ad Hoc Group of Term Lenders

      • Legal: Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP (Thomas Mayer, Stephen Zide)

    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors

      • Legal: Morrison & Foerster LLP (Lorenzo Marinuzzi, Todd Goren, Jennifer Marines, Dimitra Doufekias) & (local) Cole Schotz PC (Michael Warner, Felice Yudkin, Nicholas Brannick, Benjamin Wallen)

    • United States Trustee

      • Legal: Debevoise & Plimpton LLP (M. Natasha Labovitz, Erica Weisgerber) & (local) Zach Clement PLLC

New Chapter 11 Filing - The Rockport Company LLC

The Rockport Company LLC

5/14/18

The Rockport Company LLC, a Massachusetts-based designer, distributor and retailer of comfort footwear has filed for bankruptcy — the latest in a string of footwear retailers that has found its way into chapter 11. Payless Shoesource, Sheikh Shoes, and Nine West Holdings are other recent filings. The current owners of the business — its prepetition lenders — purchased the business from Berkshire Partners LLC and New Balance Holding Inc. in 2017. 

The company operates in what it dubs a “highly competitive” business where “[a]t various times of the year, department store chains, specialty shops, and online retailers offer brand-name merchandise at substantial markdowns which further intensifies the competitive nature of the industry.” The company has (i) a robust wholesale business (57% of all its global sales), (ii) a direct retail business (eight (8) full-price and nineteen (19) outlet stores in the United States and fourteen (14) full-price and nineteen (19) outlet stores in Canada), (iii) e-commerce, and (iv) an international distribution segment. 

This business has suffered from (a) operational challenges (a costly and time consuming separation from the Adidas Networks, with which the company's operations were deeply integrated until late 2017), (b) other negative externalities (i.e., the closure of three supply factories, contract disputes with warehousemen, and (c) the burdens of its brick-and-mortar footprint. The company notes, "[o]ver the last several years the Debtors have faced a highly promotional and competitive retail environment, underscored by a shift in customer preference for online shopping." And it notes further, "[t]he unfavorable performance of the Acquired Stores in the current retail environment has made it difficult for the Debtors to maintain sufficient liquidity and to operate their business outside of Chapter 11."

In light of this, armed with a $20 million new-money DIP credit facility (exclusive of rollup amounts) extended by its prepetition ABL lenders, the company has filed for bankruptcy to consummate a stalking horse-backed asset purchase agreement with CB Marathon Opco, LLC an affiliate of Charlesbank Equity Fund IX, Limited Partnership for the sale of the company's assets - OTHER THAN its North American assets — for, among other things, $150 million in cash. The buyer has a 25-day option to continue considering whether to purchase the North American assets but the company does "not expect there to be any significant interest in the North American Retail Assets." Read: the stores. The company, therefore, also filed a "store closing motion" so that it can expeditiously move to shutter its brick-and-mortar footprint at the expiration of the option. Ah, retail. 

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware 
  • Capital Structure: $57mm prepetition ABL Facility (Citizens Business Capital), $188.3 million '22 prepetition senior secured notes, $11mm prepetition subordinated notes.  
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Richards Layton & Finger PA (Mark Collins, Michael J. Merchant, Amanda R. Steele, Brendan J. Schlauch, Megan E. Kenney)
    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal Private Equity Services Operations Group, LLC (Paul Kosturos)
    • Investment Banker: Houlihan Lokey Inc.
    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Prepetition Noteholders and DIP Note Purchasers
      • Legal: Debevoise & Plimpton LLP (My Chi To, Daniel Stroik) & (local) Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP (Bradford Sandler, James O'Neill)
    • Collateral Agent and DIP Note Agent
      • Legal: Holland & Knight LLP (Joshua Spencer) & (local) Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP (Bradford Sandler, James O'Neill)
    • ABL Administrative Agent and ABL DIP Agent: Citizens Business Capital
      • Legal: Riemer Braunstein LLP (Donald Rothman, Lon Singer, Jaime Rachel Koff, Jeremy Levesque) & (local) Ashby & Geddes PA (Gregory Taylor)
    • Stalking Horse Bidder: CB Marathon Opco, LLC an affiliate of Charlesbank Equity Fund IX, Limited Partnership
      • Legal: Goodwin Proctor LLP (Jon Herzog, Joseph Bernardi Jr.) & (local) Pepper Hamilton LLP (David Fournier, Evelyn Meltzer)

Updated 5/14/18 at 10:14 am

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy - Bestwall LLC

Bestwall LLC

  • 11/2/17 Recap: Nothing like a big juicy asbestos case. Here, the company filed for bankruptcy to establish an asbestos trust to deal with current and future asbestos claimants on a permanent and equitable basis. It has been dealing with litigation for nearly 40 years - over the course of hundreds of thousands of cases - and because it thinks it will be the target of continued litigation "through at least 2050," it thought it best to file and take advantage of the Bankruptcy Code's scheme for dealing with asbestos-related claims. 
  • Jurisdiction: W.D. of North Carolina (Judge Beyer) 
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Jones Day (Gregory Gordon, Daniel Prieto, Jeffrey Ellman, Amanda Rush, Brad Erens) & (local) Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson PA (Garland Cassada, David Schilli, Andrew Tarr)
    • Claims Agent: Donlin Recano & Co. Inc. (*click on company name above for free docket access)
    • Other Parties in Interest:
      • Creditor: Georgia-Pacific LLC
        • Legal: Debevoise & Plimpton (Natasha Labovitz, Mark Goodman)

Updated 11/8/17