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Gasfrac Looking for 'Highest Possible Bids' as Restructuring Begins

Gasfrac Energy Services Inc. has obtained court approval from Canadian officials to begin a sales process, and it's gotten an OK from its primary lender to fund ongoing operations into March.

In the meantime, Mark Williamson has resigned as chairman, interim CEO and as a director, the Calgary operator said Wednesday. Larry Lindholm also has resigned as a director. Both plan to "pursue other business opportunities and...avoid any concerns regarding potential conflicts of interest..." Williamson's position would not be filled under Canada's Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) proceedings. CFO Lori McLeod-Hill is to continue in her role and plans to assist in the court-ordered restructuring.

The junior oilfield services company, which markets a waterless gel-based fracturing technology, filed for protection earlier this month (see Shale Daily, Jan. 16). It began proceedings under the CCAA and looked for relief with its primary secured lender, PNC Bank Canada Branch.

PNC has agreed to refrain until March 2 remedies allowed under its existing secured loan documents. PNC also agreed to increase the line of credit available to Gasfrac for up to C$39.5 million to enable it to fund ongoing operations. Some creditor claims were extended until March 18 to enable operating subsidiaries to maintain normal business operations and provide necessary protection to restructure under the oversight of a monitor.

Gasfrac has received court approval to implement a sale and investment solicitation process, or SISP procedure. The SISP would be conducted under the supervision of a monitor and a special committee consisting of Gasfrac Chairman Julien Balkany and independent directors Dale Tremblay and Robert McBean. The goal of the SISP procedure is to generate "the highest possible bids" for the business or the assets -- or a refinancing/recapitalization.

CIBC World Markets Inc. has been appointed to act as agent in connection with any proposed financing or sale transactions. Qualified bidders would be required to deliver written copies of their proposals by Feb. 24.

"The bid-proposal agreement must be in a form such that if it is accepted by Gasfrac, it will result in a final and binding agreement," the company noted. Under the CCAA proceedings, business is expected to continue uninterrupted. Obligations to employees, key suppliers of goods and services and obligations to the corporation's customers during the CCAA proceedings and SISP procedure "will continue to be met on an ongoing basis."

The management team in place is to "remain responsible for the day-to-day operations of the corporation."

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