Berlian Laju Tanker (BLT) is winding up a three-year restructuring process that will ultimately see 27 vessels rebranded as Chembulk Tankers.
BLT Chembulk Group CEO Jack Noonan announced on 24 April that BLT’s directors had agreed in principal to the terms with its lenders for the final phase of the restructuring, which has been filed with the Singapore and Indonesia stock exchanges.
Under the restructuring plan, 23 chemical tankers and four LPG carriers secured by a consortium of private equity and investment firms led by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and York Capital will be transferred to a newly formed company called NewCo. The consortium will become 100% equity holders of the company.
“The intention is that NewCo will be rebranded” Chembulk Tankers, Noonan said in a statement. Newco will be headquartered in Southport, Connecticut, with offices in Brazil, Denmark, and Singapore, and marine superintendents based in Houston and Korea. NewCo’s start-up target date is sometime in 3Q15.
“We anticipate a seamless transition to NewCo and uninterrupted operations throughout the process,” Noonan said, adding, “we fully expect ‘business as usual’.”
BLT acquired US chemical tanker operator Chembulk for USD850 million in 2007. Soon after, however, the global economic crisis hit demand for chemicals as manufacturing slowed, which affected BLT’s business.
In January 2012 BLT – at one point the world’s third-biggest chemical tanker owner – suspended repayment on its debts and began negotiations with its creditors. It filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy protection in March 2013, seeking US recognition of its Indonesian restructuring.