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CHC begins emergence as judge rules in company’s favor

CHC bankruptcy

CHC begins the road back from chapter 11 bankruptcy starting today.

CHC Group, whose helicopter fleet transports works and cargo for offshore energy companies, won court approval of a plan to slash its debts and emerge from bankruptcy.

CHC President and Chief Executive Karl Fessenden said in a statement that the restructuring plan, approved by a bankruptcy judge Friday, will allow the company to exit chapter 11 protection “as an economically robust and agile competitor in the global helicopter services market.”

CHC’s restructuring plan will reduce the company’s debt load by about $925 million. It is the capstone of a monthslong effort to not only fix its balance sheet but also to right-size its fleet of helicopters—court papers show a fleet that numbered about 230 at the time of CHC’s May 2016 bankruptcy filing will fall to about 130.

CHC filed for chapter 11 protection days after the fatal crash of one of its helicopters crashed in Norway. Two pilots and 11 oil workers were killed.

The company had hoped to secure court approval for its restructuring plan last month but was held up by an objection from ECN Capital, a creditor that leased helicopters to CHC affiliates.

A settlement reached earlier this week resolved the objection and led ECN to accept the plan, court papers show, paving the way for a Dallas bankruptcy judge to approve the plan Friday.

Upon CHC’s exit from bankruptcy, the Irving, Texas, company will be primarily owned by its bondholders. Senior secured bondholders owed nearly $1.1 billion will swap their debt for a 79.5% stake in the reorganized company, subject to dilution. Unsecured bondholders owed about $98.5 million would exchange some of their debt for 8.9% of CHC’s new equity, although this could be diluted to 1.3%.

This story was originally posted by Dow Jones Newswire.

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