Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 30 May 2020

Gulf Marine Services secures new debt deal with lenders

The company gains an extension on existing term loans and gets $50m in working capital

Gulf Marine Services has a fleet of 13 vessels operating in the offshore oil and gas and renewable energy markets in the Gulf and North West Europe. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National
Gulf Marine Services has a fleet of 13 vessels operating in the offshore oil and gas and renewable energy markets in the Gulf and North West Europe. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National

Gulf Marine Services, the Abu Dhabi-based offshore services company, reached an agreement with a consortium of six lenders to restructure its debt.

The agreement will allow the company to renew existing term loans until 2025 and provides $50m (Dh183.6m) in working capital to help fund its operations. The terms of its financial covenants have also been eased.

“It’s an inflection point for GMS after many months of uncertainty,” the company’s executive chairman, Tim Summers, told The National.

“I would say all sides of the negotiations held their nerves during what has, in the closing period, been a very turbulent period for the market.”

GMS is an offshore contractor with a fleet of 13 vessels serving the oil and gas and renewables sectors. The company has spent much of the past year in turnaround mode after saying in December 2018 that it is in breach of banking covenants. The company expects earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation for 2019 to be “at the top end” of its guidance of $48m-$50m, it said in its debt restructuring disclosure to the London Stock Exchange, where its shares trade.

The company is now targeting completion of all of the legal documentation with its banks – HSBC, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, First Abu Dhabi Bank, National Bank of Kuwait and Arab Banking Corporation – by the end of July.

The debt restructuring also provides an incentive for GMS to de-lever ahead of a capital-raising exercise to provide a new injection of equity funding. If this can't be agreed, the company will need to issue preferential securities or incur additional interest through PIK (payment-in-kind) notes.

“Clearly, as we are speaking today the equity markets are in some turmoil but we need to prepare ourselves as a company for a time when the equity markets are open to injecting equity into the company,” Mr Summers said.

GMS has so far not seen any major disruption to its operations on the back of the coronavirus outbreak, Mr Summers said, adding that most of it office staff are working remotely and there had been a freeze on offshore crew transfers in line with government guidelines.

“For a company that has been operating in a restructuring mode for some time now for different reasons, it’s put us in good stead from a procedural point of view to deal with these issues,” he said.

Updated: March 31, 2020 06:25 PM

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