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Bankruptcy of energy company left some creditors with huge losses

Investors in Wisconsin and around the nation are taking note of the ongoing negotiations in the high profile bankruptcy of Energy Future Holdings Corporation. The company is currently in talks with its creditors in an attempt to reach an agreement that will determine how much money they will receive in the bankruptcy settlement.

The Texas-based utility was considered to be an excellent investment in 2007 when three major institutional investors purchased it for $48 billion in the largest leveraged buyout in history. However, the company began to see its business model suffer when the price of gas did not rise as much as expected, partially due to an increase in the U.S. natural gas supply resulting from the growth in hydraulic fracturing.

Ten consecutive non-profitable quarters have left many of the company's unsecured debt holders wrangling over the company's dwindling remaining asset. Some observers estimate that the owners of the company's unsecured debt could be left fighting over remaining assets valued as low as $270 million, a loss of more than 95 percent of their initial investment. The outlook is somewhat better for owners of secured debt, who could recover almost 70 percent of their initial investment according to estimates prepared by Moody's. If no agreement is reached, some unsecured investors are considering filing a lawsuit.

When financial hardships make debt repayment impossible, professional assistance may be needed to create a plan to rebuild financial security. Attorneys working in the area of bankruptcy law may be able to suggest various debt relief alternatives that will allow them to make a fresh start.

Source: Bloomberg, "KKR to Goldman Skirmish for Scraps as LBO Bankruptcy Looms", Beth Jinks & Richard Bravo, October 21, 2013

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