Morton S. Bouchard, III, the head of family-run Bouchard Transportation since 1992, has been removed from his post as CEO by a Texas bankruptcy court.
The 103-year-old tug and barge operator has faced a series of civil suits and federal enforcement actions since the deadly explosion aboard the barge B. No. 255 in October 2017, and it filed for bankruptcy protection in late 2020. The firm is scheduled to exit from bankruptcy in April, unlocking $30 million in debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing.
Last month, Bouchard Transportation said that it was in discussion with its DIP lender about early incremental loans to cover operating expenses and payroll, citing “critical liquidity needs.”
In a February 25 status conference, when the firm and its lender reported difficulties in finding acceptable terms for these regular loans – and an uncertain ability to meet the upcoming payroll – Judge David R. Jones immediately removed Morton Bouchard from his post.
The parties to the bankruptcy suit nominated Matthew Ray of Portage Point Partners to take over Bouchard Transportation’s management as chief restructuring officer (CRO). Judge Jones agreed, instructing Ray to preserve the company for the benefit of all stakeholders and to report any obstruction or threat. “If anyone makes a threat to you, if anyone withholds information, I want to know it immediately . . . and there will be a hammer unlike anyone has ever seen,” said Jones.
Under new management, Bouchard Transportation and its creditors have committed to work to preserve value and jobs at the venerable 103-year-old firm. “We’re all going to do everything we can to come out of this with an operating company,” said Judge Jones in a status conference on March 2.
The opinions expressed herein are the author’s and not necessarily those of News2Sea.
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