Petroleum barge operator Bouchard Transportation, which filed for bankruptcy in September 2020, was approved last week by US bankruptcy judge David Jones in Laredo, Texas, to sell its two primary groups of assets for $245m. JMB Capital Partners LLC will pay $115.3m for one group of vessels, and Rose Cay GP LLC $130m for a second group.
Bouchard’s lawyers and its unsecured creditors’ committee are, however, continuing conversations with investment firm 507 Capital on an alternative restructuring proposal, which they hope will bring in more money to cover the losses of unsecured creditors.
The committee objects to fees that Bouchard agreed to pay its lead bidder, Hartree Partners, if that company didn’t win at an auction for the assets. Hartree says it is entitled to the fees. The judge will hear that dispute in the future.
A barge explosion and fire in October 2017 near the Port of Corpus Christi in the Gulf of Mexico marked the start of Bouchard’s financial crisis, exacerbated by the impacts of Covid-19. It filed for bankruptcy to block foreclosure sales of its vessels in Louisiana, Florida, Texas and New York.