CGG Successfully Emerges from Safeguard and Chapter 11 Restructuring

March 2, 2018

Willkie represented the steering committee of CGG’s high-yield bondholders.

In one of the largest restructurings in French history, and the first-ever successful coordination of a French sauvegarde proceedings with a U.S. chapter 11 bankruptcy case, CGG, a geosciences company that provides services to the oil and gas industry, completed a multi-billion dollar restructuring on February 21, 2018. A cross-border team of Willkie attorneys advised a steering committee of CGG’s high-yield bondholders who, as a result of a debt-for-equity swap that was the centerpiece of the transaction, are now among the company’s largest equity holders.

The restructuring was implemented through chapter 11 and chapter 15 bankruptcy cases in New York, and a sauveguarde proceeding in Paris, that were designed to implement a consensual restructuring agreement among the company, an ad hoc committee of its senior secured lenders, the high-yield bondholder steering committee represented by Willkie, and a key shareholder. This transaction resulted in the refinancing of approximately $809.5 million in senior secured debt, in both the U.S. and France, the issuance of approximately $355.1 million and € 80.4 million in second lien secured notes to former high-yield bondholders, including Willkie’s clients; the issuance of new equity and various warrant packages to former holders of the high-yield bonds and convertible bonds, and shareholders. Under the restructuring plan, CGG’s total debt was reduced from approximately $2.8 billion to approximately $1.2 billion, and the company has achieved financial stability and is poised for future success as oil prices continue to rebound.

The multidisciplinary Willkie team was led by partners Lionel Spizzichino in Paris and John Longmire in New York, and included partners Anthony Carbone, Cristopher Greer and Leonard Klingbaum in New York and Graham Lane in London; national partner Gabriel Flandin in Paris; counsel Weston Eguchi in New York; and associates Thomas Doyen, Batiste Saint-Guily, Igor Kukhta, Audrey Nelson and Gregoire Dumazy in Paris; associates Ji Hun Kim, Julian Golay, Jason Pearl, Ransel Potter, Jason St. John and Grace Aviles in New York and associates Iben Madsen, Alexander Roy and Stephen Kennedy in London.