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US bankruptcy count grows by 24 in 2 weeks as coronavirus-era filings mount

Corporate bankruptcies continue to pile up during the coronavirus pandemic, as 24 companies across industries added their names to the list of new filings in the last two weeks, according to an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis.

As of Aug. 23, a total of 445 companies have entered bankruptcy proceedings in 2020. The year-to-date total continues to trend higher than comparable levels since 2010.

Market Intelligence's analysis is limited to public companies or private companies with public debt where either assets or liabilities at the time of the bankruptcy filing are at least $2 million. Private companies without public debt must report at least $10 million in either assets or liabilities at the time of filing.

Boots Smith Completion Services LLC and BEKN North LLC have been removed from the current list because Market Intelligence discovered that their total assets and liabilities did not reach the threshold requirement for inclusion. Simply Essentials LLC, meanwhile, entered bankruptcy proceedings a second time in 2020 on Aug. 10 via a Chapter 11 filing just days after it requested court dismissal of an involuntary Chapter 7 petition filed by creditors in March.

Companies that went bankrupt between Aug. 10 and Aug. 23 include off-price retailer Stein Mart Inc., Arandell Holdings Inc., which offers catalog printing services, and energy companies Arena Energy LP, Chaparral Energy Inc. and Remora Petroleum LP. Six of the companies that went bankrupt during this period had involuntary petitions filed against them, while the others voluntarily sought bankruptcy protection.

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Off-price retailer Stein Mart Inc., which was founded more than a century ago, filed a voluntary petition for reorganization under Chapter 11 on Aug. 12. The company listed both assets and liabilities of $500 million to $1 billion and plans to close all of its 279 stores.

Remora Petroleum filed for bankruptcy protection on Aug. 12. An unknown buyer acquired the assets of the company in California for $2.1 million the following day.

Oklahoma City-based oil and gas producer Chaparral Energy filed Chapter 11 petition on Aug. 16 and reached a restructuring agreement with some of its funded debtholders to pursue a prepackaged reorganization plan.

Offshore driller Arena Energy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. with a plan to sell nearly all its assets for $64.2 million in cash, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Texas-based company listed liabilities in the range of $1 billion to $10 billion at the time of initial filing. This makes it one of the largest bankruptcies in 2020 so far, joining the likes of Tailored Brands Inc., Fieldwood Energy Inc., J. C. Penney Co. Inc. and Chesapeake Energy Corp.

In total, 36 companies that have landed in bankruptcy courts in 2020 reported more than $1 billion in liabilities.

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