Bourbon Maritime has emerged from bankruptcy and reorganisation, under which 1.5 billion euros ($1.83bn) of debt was cut.
The Commercial Court of Marseilles approved the recovery plan on December 14. The reorganisation and restructuring should be complete by the end of the year.
The agreement cuts debt from 2.648bn euros ($3.23bn) to 1.065bn ($1.3bn). This includes 228 million euros ($278mn) in bonds. Société Phocéenne de Participations (SPP) issued the bonds, which have the option of being converted into shares at the end of 2021.
The restructuring involves a number of new shareholders in SPP. Société Générale will remain the major shareholder while ICBC Leasing will have 18% and Standard Chartered Bank 10%. Other shareholders include BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole, Crédit Mutuel and BPCE.
“The end of the reorganisation proceedings with the restructuring of our debts is a major step in the transformation of the group,” said Bourbon Maritime’s chairman Gaël Bodénès.
“I would like to stress the decisive contribution of our shareholders as well as our creditors and I thank our customers who have continued to support and trust us. Finally, I would particularly like to thank the BOURBON teams who, for the past 3 years, have worked together to overcome the economic and health difficulties that our industry continues to face.
Jean Peyrelevade chairs SPP, while Olivier Dubois serves as vice president. Bodénès will become CEO of SPP in addition to chairman of Bourbon Maritime.
Bourbon has set out two priorities. It will move towards integrated services and fleet digitalisation, while reducing vessel operating costs and CO2 emissions. It aims to have fewer than 350 vessels by the end of 2021.
“We can now accelerate the deployment of our strategic action plan, both in terms of overhauling our operational and commercial structure as well as in terms of deploying new services,” said Bodénès.
SPP acquired the Bourbon group in January. A group of French banks initially made up SPP, representing 75% of Bourbon’s debts. The agreement saw Bourbon liquidated with a total loss for shareholders and bondholders.
ICBC Leasing triggered the collapse of Bourbon. The bank demanded in July 2019 that Bourbon make all outstanding rental payments up to 2026. As a result, Commercial Court declared Bourbon to be insolvent. The Chinese demand was for around $800 million.