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Vanguard Natural Resources seeks Chapter 11 protection, signs restructuring deal

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Vanguard Natural Resources seeks Chapter 11 protection, signs restructuring deal

Vanguard Natural Resources LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and reached a restructuring support agreement with some senior note holders that is expected to clear about $708 million worth of debt.

Under the agreement, holders of Vanguard's 7.875% senior notes due 2020, 8.375% senior notes due 2019 and 7.0% senior secured second-lien notes due 2023 would back the planned reorganization, involving a fully committed $19.25 million equity investment by the consenting second-lien note holders and a $255.75 million rights offering supported by the consenting holders of the 2020 and 2019 senior notes.

Vanguard also secured a committed $50 million debtor-in-possession financing facility that, combined with cash from operations, would provide enough liquidity during the Chapter 11 proceedings to resume business as usual. The facility, underwritten by Citibank NA, JPMorgan Securities LLC and Wells Fargo Bank NA, is subject to court approval.

In addition, Vanguard filed first-day motions to continue to pay employee wages; expenses for production, drilling, gathering and processing; and other commitments.

"The depressed commodity price cycle which has persisted over the past two years, combined with a tightened regulatory environment for senior debt providers, has resulted in a situation where, despite reducing our total debt by over $500 million in 2016, we find ourselves unable to meet the obligations of our current credit facility," said Scott Smith, president and CEO of Vanguard.

The petition was filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston division. Paul Hastings LLP is serving as legal counsel and Evercore Partners is acting as financial adviser, while Opportune LLP is the restructuring adviser.