Ezra faces another wind-up threat over debt

U.S. shipbuilding company VT Halter Marine (VTH) has decided to take action against Ezra Holdings, a guarantor for EMAS Chiyoda Subsea in a loan agreement with VTH.

Following a civil action lawsuit in late February by VT Halter Marine against Emas Chiyoda Subsea over a $3.3 million debt guaranteed by Ezra Holdings, VTH on Thursday served Ezra Holdings with a statutory demand related to that civil action.

As a parent company to Emas Chiyoda, Ezra acts as a corporate guarantor for the loan agreement from February 2015 between VTH and Emas Chiyoda Subsea, Inc., formerly known as EMAS-AMC Inc. (ECS US).

ECS US is a wholly-owned subsidiary of EMAS Chiyoda Subsea Limited, a 40 percent-owned associated company of Ezra created in early 2016 in partnership with Japanese Chiyoda Corporation.

According to the statutory demand made by VTH made on Thursday, if the payment is not paid directly to the U.S. shipbuilder within 21 days from March 9 VTH may apply for Ezra to be wound up based on the inability to pay its debts.

Ezra said that the company is seeking legal advice in respect of the statutory demand and that it is assessing its impact on the group.

The wind-up threat was not the first one for Ezra this year. In early February, offshore vessel owner Forland Subsea served the company with a statutory demand seeking $3 million owed for the charter of the vessel Lewek Inspector. Ezra’s subsidiary EMAS-AMC missed the payment for the chartered vessel for October and November 2016.

Also, logistics provider Necotrans in mid-February filed an application with the High Court of Singapore to wind up EMAS-AMC.

On top of all that, EMAS owed payments to Ocean Yield for the vessel Lewek Connector for which the company asked a standstill agreement. However, the owner then terminated the charter “to protect the company’s legal interest.” Just a few days later, Ocean Yield again chartered its subsea vessel to Ezra under new terms.

On February 28, EMAS Chiyoda Subsea, together with several subsidiaries, filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code to facilitate the company’s financial and operational restructuring.

Emas Chiyoda Subsea also placed EMAS-AMC AS, its Norway-based wholly owned subsidiary, under members’ voluntary liquidation in Norway.

Offshore Energy Today Staff