Oil & Gas Bankruptcies

The Restructuring Mid-Summer Review: Europe and the Emerging Markets

For those focused on the debt restructuring market, the Greek sovereign crisis (covered extensively in our recent updates1) has drowned out news of other debt restructuring matters this year. Our Alert below addresses key trends in Europe and the Emerging Markets this year which may have gone unnoticed given the understandable emphasis on Greece.

Opportunities for Distressed Debt Funds to buy attractively priced distressed corporate assets and work them out have been few and far between in recent terms. Prices of distressed assets have been high, and often par lenders have decided to extend and amend loans (rather than engage in loan sales to funds or effect fundamental work outs of problem loans). Risk has not been fairly reflected in the price of either primary or secondary market debt. The risk/reward dynamic has been skewed in favour of high risk and low yields; not an attractive combination. The main driver of the activities of Distressed Debt Funds is the default rate. In the 2015 Deutsche Bank Annual Default Survey, Deutsche Bank commented, ‘We can’t overstate how low defaults are…the 2010-2014 cohort [of High Yield Bonds] is the lowest 5 year period for HY defaults in modern history’. Hence, the low level of distressed debt activity.

Poor European growth rates, the difficult backdrop of the Greek debt restructuring talks, and major geopolitical risk, have yielded surprisingly few loan defaults and insolvencies in recent times. In Europe, restructuring activity has tended to be concentrated more in Southern than Northern Europe.

Read more.

2015 Oil & Gas Outlook Follow-Up Report

oilgasfollowupOrrick’s Restructuring Practice Chair, Raniero D’Aversa, recently sat on The Deal Pipeline’s expert panel, a 60 minute round table which addressed the present issues in the oil and gas industry and provided viewers with an insight into the key factors for their success in 2015.

Please click here here for this follow-up report.

A Battle in the Making in the Oil and Gas Sector: Second Lien vs. High Yield Debt

In the oil and gas industry, there is a storm brewing between holders of second lien debt and unsecured high yield bonds.  These creditor groups are finding themselves pitted against one another as oil and gas companies become increasingly leveraged in an effort to alleviate liquidity constraints.

As widely publicized, oil prices precipitously decreased in 2014 and depressed prices have continued into 2015, with prices falling from $103 per barrel a year ago to around $60 per barrel today.  With this prolonged decline and period of weak oil prices, oil and gas companies are having difficulty breaking even.  Therefore, it is not surprising that many industry players, particularly the upstream division (comprised of exploration and production activities), have experienced tightened liquidity.  Larger and well-diversified companies are best equipped to weather the storm because they are able to rationalize liquidity by suspending new projects and future exploration, selling non-core/non-producing assets and demanding price reductions from service providers.  While these measures have helped ease some financial stress, they are often not enough and companies have turned to the debt capital markets as a source of liquidity.  These new financings provide companies with much needed time to either wait out this period of depressed oil prices or formulate a restructuring plan.