Bankruptcy/Restructuring

Jones Energy emerges from Chapter 11 – 33 days after filing

BY Fraser Tennant

In what is a remarkable turnaround given the precarious state of the industry, oil and natural gas company Jones is emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy – 33 days after filing.

Jones Energy’s pre-packaged Chapter 11 plan – which fully equitises its funded debt, authorises an exit facility and satisfies all trade, customer, employee, royalty and working claims – was confirmed by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas on 6 May. The company believes that it has emerged from bankruptcy stronger, well-capitalised and strategically positioned to maximise the value of its asset portfolio.

A family business which dates back three generations to the 1920s, Jones Energy engages in the exploration and development of oil and natural gas properties in the Anadarko basin of Oklahoma and Texas.

“Our successful record-pace emergence from Chapter 11 reflects extraordinary effort by all parties involved,” said Carl Giesler, director and chief executive of Jones Energy. “We thank our employees for their persistence, patience and professionalism throughout this process. We also thank our mineral interest holders, vendors and suppliers for their steadfastness and cooperation, as well as the various legal and financial advisers for their judgments and guidance.”

Jones Energy has also entered into a new reserve-based credit facility with a group of banks led by TD Securities and an initial borrowing base of $225m. The company has initially elected an aggregate commitment of $150m and will have no outstanding borrowings upon emergence.

“The substantial capital commitment from our bank group highlights the operating momentum achieved by our team and the significant progress made to position the company to enhance the value of our assets,” added Mr Giesler. “Our ongoing optimisation initiatives have yielded strong well results that continue to outpace expectations and have already effected substantial reductions to our cost structure. We recognise the efforts to secure this liquidity, particularly given the current challenging financing environment.”

Mr Giesler concluded: “Jones Energy emerges from Chapter 11 in a strong financial position with the flexibility to optimise the value of its assets for all our stakeholders.”

News: Jones Energy Emerges from Bankruptcy with $225 Million Borrowing Base Agreement

Oil and gas giant Weatherford to restructure through Chapter 11

BY Fraser Tennant

Another victim of the industry’s continuing downcycle, multinational oil and natural gas company Weatherford International plc has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection amid mounting debt. 

Through a prepackaged Chapter 11 process, the company expects to implement a comprehensive financial restructuring agreement to significantly reduce its long-term debt and related interest costs, provide access to additional financing and establish a more sustainable capital structure.

In addition to its Chapter 11 filing, as a company domiciled in Ireland, Weatherford has also filed Irish examinership proceedings. Furthermore, as part of the bankruptcy and restructuring process, Weatherford intends to continue engaging in discussions with, and begin soliciting votes from, its creditors in connection with a proposed plan of reorganisation prior to filing.

"During the past year, we have been executing a company-wide transformation to fundamentally improve the way we operate our business and to strengthen Weatherford for the long run," said Mark A. McCollum, president and chief executive of Weatherford. "Despite the challenging market dynamics our industry continues to face, we believe that our transformation strategy, which is designed to improve our execution capabilities, lower our cost structure and create efficiency to allow us to better price our products and services, will position Weatherford for long-term success.”

Weatherford expects to continue to operate its businesses and facilities during the Chapter 11 and restructuring process, without disruption to its customers, vendors, partners or employees.

“However, we still face a high level of debt that affects our ability to make investments in our Company and implement further elements of our transformation plan,” continued Mr McCollum. “We expect that the new capital structure will allow us to continue to capitalise on our momentum and build a truly integrated service company with sustainable profitability and long-term growth potential."

One of the world’s largest oilfield service companies, Weatherford operates in over 80 countries and has a network of approximately 650 locations, including manufacturing, service, research and development and training facilities and employs approximately 26,000 people.

Mr McCollum concluded: “Our customers, partners, employees and vendors should not experience any changes in the way we do business, and we expect their experience will improve after the restructuring is complete.”

News: Oilfield services firm Weatherford to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Adtech giant Sizmek files for Chapter 11

BY Fraser Tennant

Against a backdrop of slowing revenue and an inability to obtain fresh investment, adtech giant Sizmek, along with a number of its subsidiaries, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The company has stated that it initiated voluntary proceedings to allow it to preserve value and seek access to capital while it continues to review strategic alternatives.

As the world's largest independent buy-side advertising platform, Sizmek operates in more than 70 countries, with local offices in many countries providing award-winning service throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and Asia-Pacific (APAC).

Subsidiaries included in the Chapter 11 filing are Sizmek Inc., Sizmek DSP, Inc., Sizmek Technologies, Inc., Wireless Artist LLC, Wireless Developer, Inc., X Plus One Solutions, Inc., X Plus Two Solutions, LLC, and Point Roll, Inc.

In a statement on its website, Sizmek said: “We are confident this process is the best possible option. Importantly, Sizmek is open for business. The US Chapter 11 process – unlike bankruptcy schemes in other geographies – is specifically designed for companies like ours to operate as usual while working to resolve financial issues. Our board and management team continue to explore all available options, including a potential sale.”

In the months prior to the filing, Sizmek had been discussing with stakeholders how to address its over-leveraged balance sheet. However, despite these discussions, Sizmek’s primary lender assumed control of Sizmek’s bank accounts and sought to divert customer receivables – thereby cutting off access to capital.

“Chapter 11 protection is the only responsible mechanism by which we can seek access to capital and preserve value while continuing to explore value-maximising alternatives,” continued the statement. “We are aggressively seeking to access our existing cash, and intend to fully resume normal-course operations as soon as possible.”

The Sizmek statement concluded: “We are committed to serving clients to the same high standard they have come to expect and are working diligently to ensure platforms experience as little interruption as possible.”

News: Independent ad server, Sizmek, files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Fading denim brand Diesel USA files for Chapter 11

BY Fraser Tennant

Blaming falling sales, a fumbled turnaround, expensive leases and inflexible landlords, denim and accessory brand Diesel USA has moved to protect itself from creditors and filed a voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Hit hard by the ongoing downturn in the retail sector, the New York-based arm of Italian retail clothing company Diesel S.p.A. has seen annual sales plummet 53 percent, to $104m. In addition, cyber attacks and theft have proved costly to the retailer.

The Chapter 11 petition estimates up to $100m in assets and as much as $50m in debt. Diesel’s parent company the OTB Group is not part of the Chapter 11 filing.

Diesel’s bankruptcy comes at a time when several retailers, such as shoe store Payless, Victoria’s Secret and Gap, have reduced their footprints and closed stores following bankruptcy. However, unlike these retailers, Diesel intends to breathe new life into its US brand.

“The filing is a critical step in enabling Diesel USA to address certain long-term liabilities for a healthier and stronger business in the country, building a dynamic brand presence in line with the evolving US retail environment,” said Diesel in a statement. “This procedure opens the way to a redefinition of the brand’s geographic footprint in the US.”

This redefinition of the brand will include some important milestones for Diesel USA in 2019, including refitting and reviewing most of its retail store network and making sure its retail footprint meets the needs of both existing and new consumers.

Diesel is also looking to strengthen its e-commerce presence and has pledged to redouble its commitment to innovation via a series of key wholesale partnerships designed to give resonance to the retailer’s collections and special products, with tailored buying and distribution activities planned for each.

A premium denim and accessory brand which dominated pop culture in the 1990s and early 2000s, Diesel USA currently has 380 employees and 28 retail stores in the US, as well as relationships with department stores and specialty retailers.

The Diesel statement concluded: “We remain fully committed to the US market, a unique and fundamental window to an important player globally.”

News: Jeans maker Diesel USA files for bankruptcy

Bankruptcy forces Payless ShoeSource to close its US doors

BY Fraser Tennant

As the latest retail chain to shut up shop in the US, shoe retailer Payless ShoeSource is to close its 2500 stores in the US after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy – for the second, and likely final, time.

The company first filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April 2017, closing approximately 400 stores.

In addition to its Chapter 11 filing, Payless ShoeSource will also be seeking protection from creditors under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

Founded in 1956, Payless ShoeSource serves millions of customers through its extensive global network spanning 36 countries worldwide. The firm has 420 stores in Latin America, the US Virgin Islands, Guam and Saipan, as well as 370 international franchisee stores across the Middle East, India, Indonesia, Indochina, Philippines and Africa.

“The challenges facing retailers today are well documented and, unfortunately, we emerged from a prior reorganisation ill-equipped to survive in today’s retail environment,” said Stephen Marotta, chief restructuring officer at Payless ShoeSource. “The company has been left with too much remaining debt, too large a store footprint and a yet-to-be realised systems and corporate overhead structure consolidation. As a consequence, we must wind down our North American retail operations under Chapter 11 and the CCAA.”

The company has said that it expects store closings will begin at the end of March – with many stores remaining open until the end of May – as it conducts liquidation sales in the US and Canada. E-commerce operations have also been wound down. However, profitable stores throughout Latin America, which are not part of the Chapter 11 filing, and international franchisees’ stores will continue to operate as usual. “As we move through the process, we will work to minimise the impact on our employees, customers, vendors and other stakeholders,” added Mr Marotta.

Additionally, authorisation is being sought from the US Bankruptcy Court for customer gift cards and store credit to be honoured until 11 March 2019, and to allow returns and exchanges of applicable non-final sale purchases made prior to 17 February 2019, until 1 March 2019. A similar request will be made in the Canadian Court. However, rewards programmes and outstanding merchandise coupons in North America have been discontinued with immediate effect.

"I would like to express our deep appreciation for the hard work of our dedicated employees and their commitment to customers, who have shown us tremendous loyalty for more than 60 years,” concluded Mr Marotta.

News: Payless ShoeSource seeks bankruptcy protection again

©2001-2019 Financier Worldwide Ltd. All rights reserved.