Tidewater drops other shoe with Chapter 11

New Orleans offshore vessel giant becomes day's second company to file for bankruptcy protection in Delaware.

Tidewater has filed a pre-packaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy case, making it the second US offshore vessel owner to do so today.

Lodging the case on the deadline announced by the New Orleans offshore vessel giant earlier this week, the company said it has some $2.34bn in debt. Tidewater declared $4.32bn in assets.

The filing comes the same day that Houston rival GulfMark Offshore filed a similar pre-packaged bankruptcy.

Both cases follow agreements with creditors that will convert debt into equity and severely reduce the stakes of existing stockholders.

In New York-listed Tidewater's case, bondholders, bank lenders and sale-and-leaseback financiers will receive a mix of cash, stock and new notes.

Existing shareholders will end up with a 5% stake in the reorganised Tidewater plus warrants that could give them another 15%, depending on how quickly the company's high value recovers.

Bondholders have the largest unsecured claim in the bankruptcy case, with today's court papers showing $1.16bn outstanding.

Bank of America is owed $904m in back debt and $85m on a sale-and-leaseback deal, while Tidewater says DNB Bank has a $93.7m claim.

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