Shipper Genco reaches bankruptcy restructuring deal

April 4 Fri Apr 4, 2014 3:41pm EDT

April 4 (Reuters) - Genco Shipping & Trading Ltd will cut its debt by more than $1 billion by giving control of the company to its lenders in a deal that requires the dry bulk shipping company to file for bankruptcy.

Lenders backing a $1.06 billion credit facility would convert their debt into about 81.1 percent of company's stock, according to a regulatory filing from Thursday.

Investors who hold $125 million of Genco convertible debt would receive 8.4 percent of the company. The remaining equity would be allocated to those investors funding a $100 million rights offering, while management would also get a 1.8 percent stake in the company.

Existing Genco stock would be canceled and shareholders would receive warrants for 6 percent of the reorganized company's stock.

Genco stock jumped 28 percent to $1.96 per share on the New York Stock Exchange in late trading on Friday.

The agreement requires Genco to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. A bankruptcy would allow the company to force a small number of hold-out creditors to accept the plan.

Firms that specialize in distressed investing - Centerbridge Partners, Apollo Management and Solus Alternative Asset Management - would rank as the largest shareholders after the company reorganizes.

The company joins a growing list of shipping companies that have been struggling as charter rates have been depressed by a glut of large new vessels. A U.S. energy boom has also hit some companies as oil shipments to the United States have dropped.

Peter Georgiopoulos, Genco's chairman and one of its largest stockholders, was a founder of General Maritime Corp, a shipping company that succumbed to Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2011. The company emerged a year later under the control of Oaktree Capital Management, a distressed investment firm.

Genco has hired Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel to lead the restructuring talks and Blackstone Advisory Partners as a financial adviser. (Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; Additional reporting by Billy Cheung in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler)