First Wave Marine, Inc. announced that it has filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas
, a Plan of Reorganization in the Company's Chapter 11 proceeding. The filing of the Plan should pave the way for the Company's emergence from bankruptcy in early fall after requisite Bankruptcy Court approval
s can be obtained. The Plan calls for an exchange of all of First Wave's 11% Senior Notes for 96.7% of the common stock of the Company which will significantly improve the balance sheet and financial strength of the Company. The Committee of Unsecured Creditors has stated that it will support the Plan.
On February 5, First Wave filed for relief under Chapter 11 of Title 11 of the United States Code in the Southern District of Texas. Immediately after filing, the Company secured $20 million in post petition financing to provide working capital during its restructuring. At the same time, First Wave obtained Bankruptcy Court authority to pay employees and certain qualifying critical vendor and subcontractor pre-petition payables on an uninterrupted basis. Since its Chapter 11 filing, First Wave has successfully maintained normal operations.
First Wave President Grady Walker said, "filing this Plan represents the achievement of a major milestone in our efforts to restructure the Company and paves the way for a speedy emergence from bankruptcy. Additionally, the Plan dramatically reduces the long-term indebtedness of the Company, thus improving its financial and competitive strength. Thanks to the hard work of our employees and the loyalty and support of our customers, vendors and lenders, First Wave's operations have performed well throughout this Chapter 11. Now as we move towards the conclusion of this restructuring, First Wave will redouble its focus on core businesses and prepare to exploit its new financial strength in order to better serve the evolving needs of its customers."
The original majority shareholders, Messrs. Sam Eakin, Frank Eakin and David Ammons, have elected to resign their positions as officers and directors upon Bankruptcy Court approval to pursue their interests in other companies. Upon approval, H. Grady Walker III, Frank R. Pierce and Suzanne B. Kean will be appointed as directors of the Company. Messrs. Walker and Pierce and Ms. Kean will also continue in their current respective management positions.
First Wave is a leading provider of shipyard and related services, with five shipyards in the Houston-Galveston area. The Company provides repair, conversion, new construction, and related services for barges, boats, ships, offshore rigs, and other vessels in the offshore and inland marine industries.