Crunch time for Bourbon as it weighs up restructuring offers

Crunch time for Bourbon as it weighs up restructuring offers

French offshore vessel owning giant Bourbon Offshore says its board is currently considering two financial restructuring proposals designed to move the struggling company forward.

The company has received an offer from its main lenders and vessel lessors, representing 75% of the group’s debt, proposing a €120m cash injection in the form of debt and a reduction of existing debt of more than €1.4bn through a conversion into capital. The debt for equity deal is valid until June 27 and would see lenders take a 93% stake in the company.

Alternatively, main shareholder Jacques de Chateauvieux and his financial partners have proposed an injection of €80m in new money in the form of debt in additional to a €164 million loan. The loan would make it possible to pay off lenders looking for an exit.

Bourbon says the de Chateauvieux proposal answers the new market expectations while relying on the historical Bourbon partners’ network, and provides a reimbursement of the debts based on the free cash flow generated by each vessel. It does not involve any dilution of shareholders at the end of the restructuring.

“At this stage, the Board of Directors is not able to pronounce itself in favor of one of these proposals since they still include a number of conditions, and in particular the agreement of all parties. The Board’s main goals remain to guarantee a sustainable level of debt, to receive new money to support the group’s growth, and a stable shareholders structure that has the trust of Bourbon partners and teams,” the company stated.

The general management of Bourbon has been asked to pursue negotiations in order to obtain final and binding conditions for both two offers, and extend their validity in the meantime.

Grant Rowles

Grant spent nine years at Informa Group based in London, Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore. He gained strong management experience in publishing, conferences and awards schemes in the shipping and legal areas, working on a number of titles including Lloyd's List. In 2009 Grant joined Seatrade responsible for the commercial development of Seatrade’s Asia products. In 2012, with Sam Chambers, he co-founded Asia Shipping Media.

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