Court Receives Four Offers for Bourbon Offshore

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Published Nov 22, 2019 6:06 PM by The Maritime Executive

The court overseeing the bankruptcy proceedings for number-two OSV operator Bourbon Corporation has received four offers for the company's assets, according to Bourbon. 

The Marseilles Commercial Court set November 20 as the deadline for the submission of takeover offers for Bourbon Corporation and its subsidiary Bourbon maritime. Four candidates submitted offers related to some or all of the company's assets, Bourbon said in a statement Thursday. 

The court has set December 10 as the date for its review of the takeover bids. In the interim, the exchange listing of Bourbon Corporation shares remains suspended.

Bourbon filed for bankruptcy protection (redressement judiciaire) in Marseilles in late July, and the proceedings began on August 7. In early October, it announced that its court-appointed administrator had received one offer from a firm owned by a consortium of French banks.

Bourbon has been moving towards a reorganization since July 2018, when it asked a group of its creditors to allow it to suspend repayment and debt servicing. Prior to entering court administration, it was still negotiating with its bankers on the possibility of two solutions - a writedown with the possibility of sharing in the financial benefits of a future market recovery, or a debt-for-equity swap.

In entering bankruptcy and contemplating the possibility of a merger, Bourbon is following a path set by its biggest competitors. American operator Tidewater eliminated $1.6 billion in loans under a prepackaged bankruptcy in 2017, then acquired competitor Gulfmark, which had recently shed about $430 million in debt through its own bankruptcy reorganization.