DLA Piper represented PHI, Inc. and various affiliates in their voluntary chapter 11 cases in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division. The debtors' chapter 11 plan was confirmed by Judge Harlin DeWayne Hale following a hearing on July 30, 2019.
PHI, Inc. is one of the world's leading helicopter services companies, operating over 240 aircraft in over 70 locations around the world. Known industry wide for the relentless pursuit of safe, reliable helicopter transportation, PHI offers services to the offshore Oil and Gas, Air Medical applications, and Technical Services applications around the world. In addition to operations in the United States, the company has operated in 43 foreign countries and continues to operate for customers across the globe. PHI's headquarters are in Lafayette, Louisiana, and PHI employs approximately 2,200 personnel globally.
PHI filed for bankruptcy protection on March 14, 2019, to address US$500 million in unsecured matured debt. Just over two weeks after the filing, PHI filed a plan of reorganization, which include a proposal to equitize PHI's debt obligations. Shortly after filing its plan - and following several weeks of litigation with the unsecured creditors' committee and the equity committee - PHI proposed that these and other key constituents participate in mediation to attempt to resolve the parties' outstanding disputes. On May 31, 2019, these key constituents participated in a full-day mediation with the Honorable David R. Jones of the Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of Texas. The mediation ultimately led to an agreement that set out the negotiated terms of the comprehensive restructuring transaction reflected in the third amended version of the chapter 11 plan, which was filed on June 18, 2019.
Under the plan—which was confirmed just over four months after the bankruptcy filing—PHI's unsecured creditors will own 100% of the company's equity upon emergence, subject to the issuance of warrants to current equity holders and future dilution. PHI also expects to gain access to US$225 million of new five-year term loan financing aligned with its current business plan and to receive an infusion of new equity financing from certain of its current unsecured creditors. PHI expects to consummate the plan and successfully emerge from chapter 11 by the end of August 2019 with a sustainable debt structure that positions the company for long-term success.
The DLA Piper team was led by co-Chair of the US Restructuring practice Thomas Califano (New York), partner Daniel Simon (Atlanta), partner Dan Prieto (Dallas) and associate David Avraham (Chicago); and included partners Jamie Knox (New York), Melainie Mansfield (Chicago), Michael Hynes and Jeffrey Rotenberg (both New York) and Brett Ingerman (Baltimore); of counsel Lucien White (New York); associates Cassandra Beckman Widay, Gregory Juell and Kate Thomas (all New York); Nicole Kozlowski (Baltimore); Tara Nair (Chicago); and Erik Stier.