Ottawa-headquartered Export Development Canada (EDC) and Regions Bank provided a US$60 million loan to Gretna, Louisiana-headquartered Torch Offshore, Inc. for the conversion of the vessel “Midnight Express”, owned by one of its subsidiaries Torch Express LLC, into a pipe-laying vessel at the Davie shipyard in Lévis, Quebec. The shipyard is currently under bankruptcy protection. The loan was secured by a performance bond issued by Investissements Québec, as well as by a first preferred fleet ship mortgage and general security on the assets of Torch Offshore LLC. Assistance under Industry Canada’s structured financing facility programme was also available. The transaction closed on May 9, 2003.
In Canada, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP in Montreal acted for EDC and Regions Bank, with a team led by James Papadimitriou and including Milly Chow, Michael Burke, Mélanie Charbonneau and Sébastien Guy. EDC was also represented by in-house counsel Christiane La Salle, and Regions Bank was also represented by Roy Blossman of Carver, Darden, Koretzky, Tessier Finn, Blossman & Areaux LLC in New Orleans.
Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP provided advice to Torch in connection with structuring the transaction, the conversion contract and the borrowing. The FMD team included Sheryl Seigel and Ian MacGregor in Toronto and Jean Guy Morency in Quebec. Robert Tessier and Normand D’Amour of Pouliot Mercure G.P. represented Investissement Québec.