TMT in Chapter 11

Several companies in the umbrella of Nobu Su-led Today Makes Tomorrow (TMT) have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Houston.

The Taiwanese shipowner said 23 company entities submitted the filing as part of a “major overhaul” of the company that began three months ago.

“I accept full responsibility for the problems TMT now faces but I am working 18 hours a day to ensure that this major asset for Taiwan’s national economic and global business reputation is not brought down because of adverse circumstances beyond my control,” said Nobu Su.

The bankruptcy filing comes amid a flurry of bank foreclosures on TMT vessels in recent weeks.

“I want my ships on the high seas earning money to pay off my loans but bank actions contribute to delaying a successful restructuring of the shipping side of the business,” Nobu Su said.

The shipping tycoon believes Chapter 11 will facilitate TMT's restructuring and will help bring the TMT companies back to long-term financial health, the company said.

Nobu Su said that TMT has enjoyed considerable success over the last 10 years.

“However, in the last three years, initiated by the economic downturn a combination of factors has required some of our companies to file for Chapter 11 – the critical factor being the maturity of our credit facilities with our major lenders which has created a short term liquidity problem.”

The company said that court administration under US bankruptcy law will mean that it does not have to pay all its debts for a time that will allow it to generate revenue in the restructuring company.

“In the case of the TMT ships it means the US court now oversees the restructuring process in order to avoid an abrupt closure,” said the company. “Courts encourage both the affected firm and its creditors to come to an agreement to find amicable solutions to the different needs of the creditors and the company.”

The bankruptcy filing comes amid mediation involving lenders and Taiwanese authorities.

According to court filings, the entities filing for bankruptcy include owners of 17 ships with 3.2 million dwt. The fleet is made up of eight VLCCs, one capesize bulker, one very large ore carrier, three car carriers, three handysize bulkers and one kamsarmax. Also named were New Flagship Investment, RoRo Line Corp, Ugly Duckling Holding Corp, Great Elephant Corp, TMT Procurement and TMT USA Shipmanagement.

TMT's advisors are restructuring firm Alix Partners and law firm Bracewell & Giuliani.

TMT did not list details of its debts or assets, and it did not name its top creditors.