Singapore’s Ezra Said to Seek Fresh Capital to Weather Downturn

  • Ezra taps adviser to find investors for $100 million of stock
  • Firm aims to improve capital structure, extend debt maturities

Singapore’s Ezra Holdings Ltd., seeking to weather a slump in the offshore marine services industry, is evaluating ways to strengthen its capital structure, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The company is working with a financial adviser to find investors for about $100 million of new stock, the people said, asking not to be identified as the process is private. It is also seeking to term out more than $100 million of its loans and bonds, as it tries to ease a short-term financing strain in part by extending its debt maturities, one of the people said.

Shares of Ezra, which has a market value of S$147 million ($109 million), have fallen 17 percent this week on concern about the industry after Swiber Holdings Ltd. filed a petition to wind up and liquidate itself. Ezra, led by Chief Executive Officer Lionel Lee, wants to ensure its capital structure can support a business recovery once oil prices rise and the marine services industry improves, the people said.

Ezra, founded in 1992, offers seabed-to-surface engineering, construction, marine and production services to oil and gas companies. Its net loss widened to $243 million for the three months through May, from a $3 million loss during the same period a year earlier, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

The company’s largest shareholder, the founding Lee family, is willing to participate in any fundraising, according to one of the people. Details could change, and there’s no certainty the discussions will result in a transaction, the people said. CEO Lee owns about 23 percent of the company, according to its annual report.

“The oil and gas market remains challenging, and Ezra continues to focus on deleveraging its balance sheet and optimizing its debt structure,” a representative for the company said in an e-mailed response to Bloomberg queries. Ezra is also considering selling non-core assets, according to the e-mail.

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