Houston-based Carbo Ceramics Inc., now restructuring under Chapter 11, has agreed to sell out to privately held Wilks Brothers LLC, a pioneer Lower 48 hydraulic fracturing operator.
Carbo, a high-end ceramic and sand proppants operator that provides material for onshore completions, reached a debt-for-equity exchange with Wilks and Equify Financial LLC as part of the Chapter 11 process filed late last month in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division.
Carbo expects to continue to operate in the ordinary course of business throughout the restructuring process.
"Like many companies with a significant concentration in the oil and gas industry, we have felt the impact of the challenging business environment and, in response, have worked diligently to strengthen our overall financial foundation," said Carbo CEO Gary Kolstad.
"While Carbo has undoubtedly made progress in our transformation strategy, we ultimately expect these headwinds to persist.” The Wilks team, he said, believes “in the promise of Carbo's business” and has a commitment to its future.
Brothers Dan and Farris Wilks in 2002 founded Lower 48 drilling services fracturing provider Frac Tech Services Inc. and Chesapeake Energy Corp. was an investor. After Frac Tech launched as a public company, it became FTS International.
The Wilks brothers sold their shares in 2011 to a group of investors led by Temasek Holdings for a $3.5 billion payday. The family continues to invest in oil and gas, as well as land and other businesses.
In the deal, Wilks agreed to provide $15 million in debtor-in-possession financing, as well as the use of cash collateral to bolster Carbo’s financial position and finance its operations through the Chapter 11 process.
"We have long believed in the underlying strength of Carbo's business, as exemplified by our multi-year relationship with the company," said spokesperson Matt Wilks. "This transaction will allow us to invest in the future of Carbo as we pursue opportunities to unlock value and support growth."