Bourbon Completes Financial Restructuring but Plans to Reduce Fleet

Bourbon completes financial restructuring
Bourbon Arctic - Bourbon photo

Published Dec 16, 2020 6:33 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Commercial Court of Marseilles approved the recovery plan for Bourbon Maritime after an agreement was reached with the creditors. The decision completed the reorganization proceedings that began nearly 18 months ago. The company expects to complete the financial and capital restructuring of the group by the end of the year as it continues to overhaul its business.

Bourbon’s recovery is based on the continuation and deployment of its strategic action plan. According to the company its two priorities will be transformation of business models towards more integrated services and the digitalization of the fleet. The goal is to improve while gradually reducing vessel operating costs and CO2 emissions. 

As part of the transformation of the business Bourbon also expects to downsize its current fleet. The plans set a target for the fleet of less than 350 vessels at the end of 2021. That is down from 458 vessels and more than 8,200 employees.

A market leader in offshore marine services, Bourbon focus on the offshore energy sector providing surface and subsea marine services for oil & gas fields and wind farms. The company had been declared insolvent in 2019 when it was unable to meet the demands for rental payments. At the end of 2019, the company was sold to creditors with a plan to liquidate the parent company and overhaul the offshore business with a new strategic plan.

The agreements signed with the creditors reduces the group’s debt by more than half. It goes from approximately $3.2 billion to under $1.4 billion including approximately $278 million in bonds redeemable for shares issued by the Société Phocéenne de Participations, the company formed by the creditors that took control of Bourbon at the beginning of 2020. The conversion of the major part of this debt into equity significantly strengthens the group's balance sheet and there are provisions for nearly $200 million in additional new financing.

“The end of the reorganization proceedings with the restructuring of our debts is a major step in the transformation of the group,” said Gaël Bodénès, Chairman of Bourbon Maritime. “We can now accelerate the deployment of our strategic action plan, both in terms of overhauling our operational and commercial structure as well as in terms of deploying new services.”

Société Générale will keep the majority stake, while BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole, Crédit Mutuel, and BPCE will also be shareholders. ICBCL will now hold an 18 percent stake while Standard Chartered Bank will take a 10 percent stake in the company.  Gaël Bodénès will become sole Chief Executive Officer, while remaining Chairman of Bourbon Maritime.