Micoperi grappling with the issue of bonds
As the Ravenna-based company did not comply with loan covenants, it asked its bondholders to waive their right to early repayment: verdict put off to September
In recent years, the oil sector trend caused significant problems to its companies, including Ravenna-based Micoperi.
The company's press release announced the postponement of a bondholders' meeting convened for last August the 3rd due to the delicacy of the subjects on the agenda, which required the participation of at least 50% of the holders of the bond issued during the spring of 2015 (35 million Euro, of which Micoperi already repaid 10%).
The 4 points on the agenda concerned the failure to comply with one of the financial parameters provided for, i.e. the relation between Net Financial Position and Ebitda, “as the group had a negative gross margin”. This probably affected Micoperi's decision, infringing bond regulations, not to publish its 2016 financial statement (nor its quarterly reports of 31/12/2016 and 30/6/2017), thus providing for the bondholders' right to ask for early repayment. This led them to ask bondholders to waive their right and approve the withdrawal of the security from trading.
However, as the bondholders' share (including Mrs Arca, Zenit and Duemme, Cassa di Risparmio di Vercelli Foundation and Banca Popolare di Vicenza, whose deputy chairman at the time of the subscription was former state accountant Andrea Monorchio, Micoperi's current chairman, who is under investigation for his banker activities) did not reach 40%, the meeting was postponed to September.
It is unlikely that, as Micoperi held in its press release, “probably the fact that most of them are already on holidays was decisive in the failure to achieve the constituent quorum”, while it is more likely that bondholders wanted to take more time to assess this complex situation.
As a matter of fact, the 2016 financial statement has not been submitted yet, but the quarterly report related to the first three months of 2017 records its pro forma figures: a loss of 28.6 million Euro on a 92.3 turnover, with a 4.8 million Euro negative Ebitda and a 128.1 million Euro negative net financial position (as of December 31st). As regards its turnover, the first half of the year registered an encouraging 30.9 million Euro, but also a loss of 13.9 and a 6.1 million Euro negative Ebitda.
However, Micoperi's managers who drew up the report, though acknowledging that “managing overdue payables to suppliers, that in some cases are in arrears of a few months, is rather difficult”, are optimistic about the net financial position reduction (as of 31/3/2017) to 121 million Euro, that exceeded their business plan forecast (by 700,000 Euro). Moreover, they pointed out that their 13.9 million loss is “a significant improvement compared to the forecasts, both in absolute terms (19.4 million Euro, ed.) and in percentage, showing that the company's activity is recovering and cost reduction policies are producing the desired effects”.
Moreover, “the production value generated during the first half of 2017 is the first actual trend reversal compared to the crisis of the last 2 years. As a matter of fact, the over 30 million Euro recorded, besides forming 35% of the production value achieved in 2016, derive from projects that will continue also in the next months”. The latter include the Nenè project, launched on behalf of ENI Congo in September 2016 and providing for the creation of two platforms and several connecting pipelines. There are great expectations also for “Oil Companies' investments, including ENI, which during 2016 were awarded important exploration allotments”, and for two projects in Ghana and Mauritania, that will be launched in 2017. Moreover, according to what Silvio Bartolotti revealed to the newspaper Corriere di Romagna, “the debt is lower than 100 million Euro, and the situation is not that tragic. Our 2017 financial statement will close with profits”.
If to this complex situation we add that last May Cerved Rating Agency, though according to assessments related to 2016, downgraded Micoperi's rating from B2.2 to C1.2 (the second-last level in its scale, “very high credit risk”), it is no surprise that bondholders took more time to take a decision about the company's requests, that will not only affect the repayment of their loan but also the future of a company with almost two dozen vessels and over 1,000 employees.