Brightoil Faced with USD 250 Mn of Creditor Claims
Hong Kong-listed Brightoil Petroleum (Holdings) Limited has accumulated around USD 250 million of total creditor claims.
The group is engaged in upstream oil and gas resources exploration as well as marine transportation, oil storage and terminal facilities and international trading and bunkering business.
The management of the company said that the group has sufficient cash flow to maintain its normal operation, however, the company is working on the potential debt reorganization scheme as creditors start to take their claims to courts.
“Under the guidance and coordination of the People’s Bank of China and following the principles of mitigating risks and supporting enterprise development, a committee led by a key financier of the group is in discussion with the group to advance the formulation of the debt reorganization plans. It is anticipated by the management of the group that debt reorganization or new financing can be arranged after the due diligence which is in progress and further discussions with the group,” Brightoil said in a regulatory filing.
As informed, debt reorganization plans include renewal of existing credit facilities, takeover of existing loans by certain key financiers and/or disposal of assets of the group for raising capital to pay off a portion of the existing debts and enhancing the group’s liquidity.
Separately, the company has, “through friendly consultation” with Broad Action Limited filed for the withdrawal of the winding up petition sought by Broad Action Limited. The petition was filed on January 8, 2019 in the High Court of Hong Kong in relation to an alleged unpaid early redemption amount in the sum of approximately USD 42 million.
Due to the fact that the trading in the company’s shares has been suspended since October 3, 2017 pending, Brightoil’s ability to secure financing has been exposed to further pressure, limiting its access to capital for business and operations.
“To protect the group’s business from creditors’ claims, including winding up petitions against the company or its subsidiary, the group is taking steps to pursue the debt reorganization, engaging in negotiations with creditors, and pursuing legal protection as advised,” the company pointed out.
Specifically, in August 2018, a creditor commenced legal proceedings against Brightoil Petroleum (S’Pore) Pte. Ltd., an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of the company, in the High Court of the Republic of Singapore in relation to sums allegedly due on letters of credit and short term advances.
In November 2018, another creditor filed a winding up order against BOPS in the High Court of Singapore seeking in relation to an invoice and a settlement agreement.
In December 2018, BOPS applied for a moratorium to restrain legal action against the company, which has been granted until March 31, 2019. It is anticipated that a further hearing before the High Court of Singapore will be held before the end of March 2019.
The group said it was also negotiating with other creditors which have issued statutory demands against the company or commenced legal actions against Brightoil Shipping Singapore Pte. Ltd., another indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of the company, to try to settle the claims and get creditors’ support to reorganize the group’s debts.
Brightoil added that other options to improve its liquidity are also being actively considering including sale of assets, and refinancing. These include sales of assets and/or shareholding of Zhoushan Oil Storage and Terminal Facilities.
“The company is in discussions with potential purchasers or investors about the Zhoushan Project. Further, the group is presently in discussion with financial institutions for refinancing of its oil tankers. The management of the company believes that the debt reorganization, the sale of assets, or refinancing would provide the necessary liquidity to allow the group to protect its business, meet the creditor claims, and pursue future business opportunities,” Brightoil concluded.
BOSS has a total of five VLCCs and four Aframax tankers, and six bunker barges.