Houston oilfield service company files for bankruptcy

Superior Energy Services has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It expects to convert $1.3 billion of debt into equity and may split into two companies.

Superior has its head office in downtown Houston. It was recently delisted from the NYSE because its market capitalization was below $15 million. The company has two main businesses:

  • Remainco : An international business involved in drill pipe rentals, bottom hole assemblies, completion tools and well control services. The business has projected revenues of $550 million.
  • NAM : An onshore US business involved in service rigs coiled tubing, wireless, pressure control and fluid management. This business has projected revenues of $260 million in 2021.



Prepackaged bankruptcy agreement

The company has the support of 69% of the company’s senior unsecured noteholders. The noteholders have the right to decide whether or not to split the company into two. If they do, they would get 98.5% of the equity of Remainco and 95% of the equity of NAM. Existing shareholders will get the rest, though a management incentive plan will be put in place. This will dilute the percentages a little bit.

Back in December 2019, Superior announced the merger of its US completions business with Forbes Energy Services, with the combined entity to be spun off. The deal was called off in May due to deteriorating market conditions.

As part of the bankruptcy proceedings, the Board of Directors has agreed pay $7.3 million in retention bonuses to the six executive officers of the company. CEO David Dunlap gets $3.2 million, while CFO Westy Ballard gets $1.1 million.

Retention Plan

In March, Mr Dunlap got an annual cash bonus of $0.9 million. He also got an additional payout of $1.275 million, in cash, for performance stock units (PSU) for the period 2017-2019. This payout was primarily due to Superior being in the top 17% of total stockholder returns of its peer group, over that three year period.  Mr Ballard got a $346,000 annual bonus and $300,000 for the PSUs.

Complete Production Services

The company’s debt problem stems all the way back to October 2011 when it agreed to buy Complete Production Services for $2.9 billion. It paid $553 million in cash and issued stock for the rest. As part of the deal financing, in December 2011, it issued $800 million of unsecured senior notes, due 2021, to repay $650 million of debt that Complete owed. The other $500 million of notes were also, effectively, issued in 2011, though they were refinanced in 2017.

The $2.9 billion price for Complete Production Services included $2.3 billion in goodwill and intangibles. In 2015, the company wrote goodwill down by $1.3 billion. By 2018, all the goodwill had been written off.

Mr Dunlap became CEO of Superior 18 months before the deal with Complete Production Services.

SEC filing – Superior bankruptcy

 

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