A bankruptcy judge has approved the proposed sales of assets belonging to petroleum tug and barge operator Bouchard Transportation, although discussions are continuing for additional restructuring options before the sale is confirmed.
U.S. bankruptcy Judge David Jones on Thursday approved the two separate sales to JMB Capital Lending Partners and Rose Cay GP LLC, who each submitted winning bids during last month’s auction for Bouchard’s assets, beating Hartree Partners’ “stalking horse” bid of $110 million.
JMB’s winning bid offered $115.3 million for 29 vessels, including 17 tugs and 12 barges. Rose Cay won with a $130 million bid for another 8 tugs and 10 barges.
However, lawyers for Bouchard and its unsecured creditors, which includes owner Morton Bouchard III, indicated they are continuing conversations with another investment firm on an alternative restructuring proposal, although it’s not clear if a deal will be reached before a sale confirmation hearing scheduled for later this month.
Bouchard has been debtor-in-possession since filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2020 with $230 million in debt. The company has faced mounting legal, financial, and regulatory compliance issues dating back to a deadly barge explosion off Port Aransas, Texas in 2017, which killed two people.
Earlier this year, a bankruptcy judge ordered the removal of Morton Bouchard as the company’s CEO.
Based in Melville, New York, Bouchard Transportation has remained family-owned since its inception in 1918. According to its website, the company’s fleet consists of 25 double-hulled petroleum barges and 26 tugs.
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