Lightstream Resources proposes to pay down 118 billion in debt with stock

CALGARY — Lightstream Resources said Wednesday it has been granted preliminary court protection from creditors as it pursues a plan to reduce its debt by $1.175 billion, a move that would see secured creditors receive 95 per cent of the struggling oil and gas company’s equity.Current shareholders would end up with 2.25 per cent of the equity in a revitalized Lightstream, which has been unable to keep up with its interest payments since the collapse in oil prices that began in late 2014. Unsecured noteholders would get 2.75 per cent.Oil patch relieved as AER signals it will assess deals on a case-by-case basisDividend cuts ‘a last resort’ for banks under severe oil and gas stress: Moody’sThe plan outlined by Calgary-based Lightstream would reduce its annual interest payments by about $112 million.The company had previously warned that it wouldn’t be able to make a $41.7-million interest payment on June 15, starting the clock on a 30-day grace period that ends Friday.On Wednesday, the company said the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench had granted a preliminary interim order prohibiting holders of its secured and unsecured notes from declaring it in default or taking other enforcement steps. It said it will return to court in August to seek permission to hold meetings with stakeholders where they will vote on its recapitalization plan.The proposal still requires approval from secured and unsecured creditors as well as its shareholders. Lightstream was built through a series of acquisitions starting in 2009. It boasts a strong base of light oil production in Alberta and Saskatchewan but its debt totalled $1.6 billion at the end of 2015.The company launched a sales process for its core Bakken light oil producing assets in Saskatchewan in late 2014 but CEO John Wright said previously it couldn’t find a suitable buyer in a down market.Lightstream’s annual average production in 2015 fell 22 per cent to 31,392 barrels of oil equivalent a day due to asset sales and lower investment in new wells. It reported a net loss of $946 million, including a non-cash writedown of $661 million to account for lower anticipated future commodity prices.Canadian Press

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