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Blackstone-Controlled Company Sues U.S. Over Guarantee

July 17 (Bloomberg) -- A shipping company controlled by Blackstone Group LP sued the U.S. government alleging a $340 million loan guarantee was improperly delayed because of the bankruptcy of Solyndra LLC.

American Petroleum Tankers Parent LLC, in a lawsuit filed today in federal court in Washington, asked a judge to order Maritime Administrator David Matsuda to grant or deny the company’s loan application. American Petroleum Tankers, or APT, is majority-owned by investment funds managed by Blackstone Group.

The Transportation Department’s credit council “has refused to act on APT’s application, based, not on the merits of the application, but primarily on the fact that APT is owned by investment funds managed by private equity firms,” according to the complaint.

Matsuda, during an April 30 meeting with APT officials, raised the issue of Solyndra defaulting on loan guarantees from the Energy Department and said “applications for loan guarantees were being given more scrutiny,” specifically those sought by companies of private-equity firms, according to the complaint.

APT, which owns five petroleum tankers, applied for a loan guarantee in August 2010. The application will expire on Aug. 31, according to the complaint.

“We are reviewing the filing, but do not comment on pending litigation,” Meghan Keck, a department spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

Peter Rose, a spokesman for New York-based Blackstone Group, declined to comment.

The case is American Petroleum Tankers Parent LLC v. U.S., 12-cv-01165, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

To contact the reporter on this story: Tom Schoenberg in Washington at tschoenberg@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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