Rex Energy Corp. said in a regulatory filing this week it failed to make a semi-annual interest payment that was due on Monday (April 2) for its senior notes, necessitating a forbearance agreement with lenders to prevent the acceleration of other debt obligations.
The company entered the forbearance agreement through April 16 with a lending group led by Angelo, Gordon & Co. It prevents the lenders from taking any enforcement actions, such as accelerating obligations under Rex’s $300 million credit agreement, which was violated by the interest payment default.
Rex said it entered the forbearance to allow more time for talks with its lenders about financial alternatives that could strengthen its balance sheet, including the possibility of filing for bankruptcy to restructure.
“There can be no assurance that the company will reach any agreement with any stakeholders on a financial restructuring of the company by the end of the forbearance period, if at all, or that the forbearance period will be extended,” the company said in a filing made late Tuesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The company also violated its credit agreement with the lending group by failing to meet certain financial reporting requirements. Rex said in a separate regulatory filing on Tuesday it would be unable to file its 2017 annual report by the deadline without unreasonable effort or expense.
The company attributed the missed deadline to the fact that it has “directed a considerable amount of time toward evaluating and developing strategic alternatives with respect to a number of actions, including a significant restructuring of its balance sheet.” Rex, which is traded on the Nasdaq, has also yet to report 4Q2017 financial results.
Rex disclosed in a February regulatory filing that some of its second lien noteholders had agreed to a voluntary, pre-packaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing as a way to reorganize in exchange for debt and equity securities. According to that filing, the company has various bond debts of more than $600 million that are scheduled to mature over the next four years.
Squeezed by the commodities downturn, the company has been overleveraged for years, and has battled declining credit, faced Nasdaq delistings and operated a dwindling position with capital partly provided by joint venture partners. Rex once held more than 250,000 acres across the Appalachian and Illinois basins, but it has sold noncore properties in recent years and now holds about 90,000 acres in Carroll County, OH, and Butler County, PA.
Rex said if it fails to make the interest payment on the senior notes within the 30-day grace period, then the bonds would be subject to acceleration. If the forbearance agreement with the other lenders expires, they could exercise their rights under the credit agreement to accelerate the company’s obligations.
Besides eyeing bankruptcy, Rex said in the February filing it was exploring refinancing, asset sales or some other type of debt forbearance.