Stone Energy planning to use Chapter 11 to eliminate about $1.2 billion in debt
By Tom Hals
Dec 21 (Reuters) – Offshore oil exploration company Stone Energy Corp, which filed for bankruptcy last week, has agreed to increase the potential recovery for shareholders in its Chapter 11 plan, according to court papers filed on Wednesday.
On Dec 14, the Lafayette, Louisiana-based company joined a long list of oil producers that have filed for bankruptcy amid a two-year slump in prices. Stone plans to use Chapter 11 to eliminate about $1.2 billion in debt by transferring control to its noteholders.
Stone’s two largest shareholders, Thomas Satterfield of Birmingham, Alabama, and Raymond Hyer of Tampa, Florida, have attacked the company’s Chapter 11 plan and requested the formation of an official equity committee.
According to Wednesday’s filing, the pair have dropped that demand and are now backing the plan of reorganization, which Stone revised to increase the post-bankruptcy stake reserved for shareholders to 5 per cent from 4 per cent.
The shareholders will also receive warrants for 15 per cent of the stock in a reorganized Stone, up from 10 per cent, and Stone agreed to pay up to $1 million of professional fees incurred by the shareholders.
Stone’s stock plummeted 16 per cent on Wednesday, surrendering the prior day’s sharp gains and then some, closing at $9.33 on the New York Stock Exchange.
The stock had rallied on Tuesday after Hyer said in a securities filing that he would not support the restructuring plan.
The shareholder settlement stipulates that no official equity committee will be appointed in the bankruptcy. Official committees can play a major role in negotiating a Chapter 11 plan and receive a budget from the bankrupt company to hire professionals and conduct investigations.
(Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)