Daily News: September 26, 2012

AlixPartners Receives TMA’s International Turnaround Award

AlixPartners said it has been honored by the Turnaround Management Association for its work, in concert with other advisors, at the company now known as DeepOcean Group Holding AS, previously the Trico Marine Group. The AlixPartners team, led by John Castellano, managing director, was cited for its contributions in the highly successful effort, which is the winner of the TMA’s “Turnaround of the Year: International Company” award for 2012.

The Norwegian-registered DeepOcean Group is an integrated provider of subsea, trenching and marine-support vessels and services, including to the oil and gas industry, and has a global presence including in the North Sea, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Brazil, Southeast Asia and Australia. To execute the turnaround, the team had to overcome complex and contentious intercreditor negotiations and litigation, against a backdrop of a liquidity crisis brought on by a deteriorating operating environment, an extremely high debt burden ($1.4 billion in total) and rapidly increasing internal costs. Results included a consensual debt-for-equity exchange with 99.9% all noteholders tendering their notes for conversion, as well as the creation of a new credit facility with new equity-holders.

“AlixPartners’ unique mix of resources for successfully tackling complex international assignments, as well as our expertise in the maritime industry, really shone through in this engagement,” said Peter Fitzsimmons, president of the Americas at AlixPartners and co-lead of the firm’s Turnaround & Restructuring Services unit. “In accomplishing so much, including the virtually unanimous debt-for-equity exchange, in this contentious cross-border case, our entire team at DeepOcean proved once again that AlixPartners is the firm clients can turn to worldwide to help them solve the thorniest of challenges.”

Trico Marine Group had operated as two separate businesses – a towing and supply business, “Holdco,” and subsea services divisions, “Opco.” Holdco was saddled with approximately $400 million of debt and Opco’s debt burden was almost $1 billion. To complicate matters, they had separate groups of lenders and separate collateral pools. Because the two parts lacked integration, the turnaround team had to successfully execute a debt-for-equity exchange at Opco and a liquidation plan for Holdco.

AlixPartners was engaged by the company in June 2010, and working with other advisors, quickly developed a strategy to stabilize liquidity, prepare for a Chapter 11 filing at Holdco and develop a business plan that would allow for a robust enterprise in the future. Along the way, the team quickly developed a complex, modular financial model to generate consolidated financial projections for the management team and creditors, and also developed a consolidated cash-forecasting tool to help the company manage liquidity during periods of severe cash shortages.

The results, in addition to achieving the consensual debt-for-equity exchange, the consensual plan of liquidation for Holdco and the successful negotiation of a new credit facility for DeepOcean, include the execution of long-needed capital-improvement projects, the return of working-capital accounts to industry norms and the winning of previously unavailable work for the company.

Also recognized by the TMA for their work on the DeepOcean engagement were: John E. Mitchell, Vinson & Elkins; David Hilty, Houlihan Lokey; David Ying, Evercore; Andrew Rosenberg, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; Joel H. Levitin, Cahill Gordon Reindel; Richard Sjoeqvist, Bugge, Arentz-Hansen & Rasmussen; and Robert Dehney, Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell.

The award will be presented at the TMA’s 24th Annual Conference in Boston at the Westin Copley Place, which runs Nov. 1-3.