August 5, 2013 / 2:37 PM / 4 years ago

Excel Maritime creditors ask court to terminate exclusivity period

(Reuters) - Unsecured creditors of drybulk shipper Excel Maritime Carriers Ltd have asked a bankruptcy court to terminate the exclusivity period for the company’s reorganization plan, saying the package benefited only secured lenders and controlling shareholders.

The exclusivity period refers to the 120-day period in which only the company can file a plan of reorganization after a bankruptcy petition.

Excel’s exclusivity period started on July 1, and as long as it is in effect no competing plans can be put forward.

The committee representing the unsecured creditors said late last month that Excel’s bondholders were planning to file a rival reorganization plan.

Excel will get $50 million of new capital and access to $30 million of restricted cash under the current reorganization plan between Excel and its senior lenders and an entity affiliated with the family of Chairman Gabriel Panayotides.

In return, an entity affiliated with the Panayotides family will receive 60 percent of the company for $30 million and the lenders 40 percent.

In exchange, the lenders will postpone the maturity of Excel’s $771 million senior secured facility to 2018.

The committee says the company’s plan gives the controlling shareholders the exclusive right to buy back their shares at a price that is significantly less than the market value while leaving non-trade unsecured creditors a slim chance of recovery.

Excel owns and operates a fleet of 38 dry bulk cargo vessels. The company filed for bankruptcy in July, hurt by the shipping slump that has caused a number of bankruptcies including that of Britain’s oldest shipping firm, Stephenson Clarke Shipping Ltd, and Italian dry freight group Deiulemar Shipping.

Excel’s shares have been delisted from the New York Stock Exchange.

The case is In Re: Excel Maritime Carriers Ltd, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No:13-23060.

Reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bangalore; Editing by Ted Kerr

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