July 21, 2019
Picture the private equity associate. He’s sitting at his desk, twiddling his thumbs, looking for something to do. All is good in the world: the portfolio is humming along, he hasn’t gotten roped into a lose/lose golf tournament with the senior partners in a while, and he just wants to lay low and ride out the summer if he can. Then, suddenly, on one fateful summer day in June, one of his portfolio companies just up -and-decides to randomly explode — or, as the company puts it, suffer a “historic, large-scale, catastrophic accident.” Suddenly he’s mopping the floor with his jaw.
This sudden turn of events is particularly stupefying when you consider that the portfolio company — PES Holdings LLC, aka Philadelphia Energy Solutions — happens to be a 150 year-old oil refining complex that also happens to be (i) the largest on the United States Eastern seaboard (representing approximately 28% of the crude oil refining capacity on the east coast), and (ii) an employer of 950 employees. What are the possible knee-jerk reactions here? Are they:
“Oh sh*t, there goes our portfolio for the year!”
“F******ck, did our investment literally just go up in smoke?”
“Am I going to have a job tomorrow?”
Then there are likely the secondary considerations:
“How will the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia fulfill their energy needs?”
“Oh no! Did anyone die??!?”
That’s right: we’re cynical AF. After those two waves of initial thoughts and after a deep breath, we bet these were the next questions:
“Do we have to file this thing for ANOTHER bankruptcy now?”
“How robust is our insurance coverage? What are our insurance premiums and can we keep paying them to ensure coverage?”
“Is this an opportunity? How do we transfer all of the risk and best position ourselves to drive equity value here?”
The latter two considerations — as heartless and lacking in empathy as they may be — are highly realistic. And highly relevant, considering the explosion and attendant fire on June 21 forced the company to shut down its plant. The timing couldn’t have been worse: the explosion took place mere days after the company finalized the implementation of a new intermediation facility. Now, though, all “momentum” is lost: the company is currently inoperable and will require an extensive rebuild: at limited capacity and with massive fixed operational costs, the company would have burned (pun most definitely intended) through $100mm in liquidity within a few weeks. Cue the chapter 22 bankruptcy filing.*
Of course, prior to the filing, the company engaged in dialogue with its insurers:
The Debtors also immediately began a process to engage with their insurers—as it relates to property and business interruption insurance claims for the losses caused by the Girard Point Incident—to advance a dialogue toward an immediate advance and a global resolution that will allow the Debtors to restore their operations. The Debtors have yet to obtain such an advance.
Show us an insurer who is ready and willing to fork over proceeds on a moments notice and we’ll show you a bridge we’re selling.
The Debtors’ goal in the near term remains continuing to preserve the safe operation of the Refining Complex while they seek to recover as quickly as possible on their property and business interruption insurance claims and pursue various transactions to preserve their operations and maximize value.
We’re not talking about peanuts here, folks:
The Debtors have $1.25 billion in property and business interruption insurance coverage to protect against these kinds of losses (in addition to other insurance policies that cover other aspects of the Girard Point Incident). The Debtors are working with the insurers under that program to make the Debtors whole for the physical loss of the refinery and the resulting interruption of the Debtors’ business. These insurance proceeds are the very heart of these chapter 11 cases: the sooner the Debtors can recover, the sooner the business can complete its recovery.
While the company waits for the insurers to cough up some cash, it, obviously, needs to focus on safety issues and fire-related cleanup. To that end, it secured a $100mm DIP commitment from certain of its term loan lenders and continues to engage in discussions with ICBC Standard Bank PLC about a dual-DIP structure that would avail the company of even more liquidity. Ultimately, the company hopes to reorganize as a going concern. The extent to which the insurers play ball will dictate whether that’s possible. Something tells us there are some risk analysts combing through those policies with a fine tooth looking for any and all exemptions that they can pull out of their a$$es.
*According to the company, the first chapter 11 filing: “(i) secured a capital infusion of approximately $260 million; (ii) extended the Debtors’ debt maturities through 2022; (iii) reduced the Debtors’ anticipated debt service obligations by approximately $35 million per year; (iv) provided the Debtors with access to a new intermediation facility; and (v) provided the Debtors with relief from certain regulatory obligations.”
Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Gross)
Capital Structure: see below
Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (Edward Sassower, Steven Serajeddini, Matthew Fagen, Michael Slade, Allyson Smith Weinhouse, Patrick Venter, Nacif Taousse, Whitney Becker) & Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP (Laura Davis Jones, James O’Neill, Peter Keane)
CRO: Stein Advisors LLC (Jeffrey Stein)
Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal LLC
Investment Banker: PJT Partners LP
Claims Agent: Omni Management Group (*click on the link above for free docket access)
Other Parties in Interest: