Bankruptcy judge approves sale of Bouchard vessels
Lawyers for the company say they are continuing to explore an alternative restructuring proposal
(HOUSTON) — Tugboat and barge operator Bouchard Transportation, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September, has secured court approval to sell its two main asset groups for $245 million, Reuters reported.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge David Jones on Thursday approved the sales to Rose Cay GP LLC and JMB Capital Partners LLC. Lawyers representing Bouchard, however, said at the hearing that they are continuing conversations with investment firm 507 Capital on an alternative restructuring proposal.
Bouchard filed for bankruptcy with $230 million in debt as the COVID-19 pandemic worsened financial problems that stemmed from a barge explosion near Port Aransas, Texas, in 2017 that killed two crewmembers.
JMB is acquiring a group of vessels for $115 million, which consists of a combination of cash and a credit bid of its existing loan made to Bouchard earlier in the bankruptcy. Rose Cay is paying $130 million for another group of vessels.
The bidding process prompted questions from certain creditors as well as the company’s owner, Morton Bouchard III. Morton Bouchard and his family said in court papers recently that they are concerned the sales will not bring in proceeds sufficient to provide unsecured creditors meaningful recoveries, according to Reuters. The Bouchard family said it had spoken to 507 Capital about an alternative strategy that would set aside specifics funds for unsecured creditors but had been “rebuffed.”