Bourbon Offshore Sold to Creditors

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Published Dec 24, 2019 2:29 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Monday, the court overseeing the reorganization of Bourbon Offshore chose a purchase bid from Société Phocéenne de Participations (SPP), a company owned by Bourbon's creditors. The transfer of ownership of Bourbon's holding company, Bourbon Corporation, will take place on January 2, 2020.

The plan calls for Bourbon Corporation to be liquidated, leading to a total loss for the firm's shareholders and bondholders. The operating company - Bourbon Maritime (Bourbon Offshore) - will continue to conduct business as usual under a continuation plan, to include the company's "BOURBONINMOTION" digitalization and restructuring initiative. 

SPP's owners include BNP Paribas, Caisse Régionale de Crédit Agricole Mutuel Alpes Provence, Caisse Régionale de Crédit Agricole Mutuel de Paris et d'Ile de France, CM-CIC Investissement SCR, Crédit Lyonnais, Natixis and Société Générale. Together they hold about three-quarters of Bourbon's debt, meaning that any SPP-authored continuation plan already has the assent of a supermajority of creditors. 

The Marseilles Commercial Court had multiple bids from which to choose. SPP offered to buy 100 percent of Bourbon's assets via a debt-for-equity swap covering about $1.5 billion dollars of Bourbon's obligations plus another $330 million of debt in bonds. It also includes $165 million in bank financing, with $33 million available as soon as the transfer of ownership is completed in order to meet Bourbon's immediate liquidity needs. 

Rig-moving logistics company Peschaud and OSV industry leader Tidewater each proposed competing offers. Tidewater's leaders have frequently voiced an interest in buying and consolidating competitors, as exemplified by the firm's purchase of GulfMark Offshore.

Jacques de Chateauvieux, Bourbon chairman and CEO, submitted a competing bid conditioned upon support from Chinese company ICBC Financial Leasing. However, ICBC ultimately backed the SPP proposal.