Robert Burns concentrates his practice on U.S. and international corporate restructurings and insolvency matters. Bob brings a unique and diverse background to the table, as he has advised distressed debt investors in acquisitions, restructurings, bankruptcy proceedings and the purchase of distressed assets and securities; counseled boards of directors and senior managers of financially troubled companies regarding fiduciary duties and restructuring strategies; and represented debtors in complex "mega-company" bankruptcies. He has broad restructuring experience over several industries, with a particular focus on energy, shipping and transportation.
Bob serves as chair of our New York-based Maritime Investment and Restructuring Practice. He has maritime law experience dating back to his tenure as the general counsel of American Commercial Lines, where he advised the company on legal issues such as vessel acquisitions, vessel charters and contracts of affreightment, shipbuilding contracts, domestic and international ship finance matters and U.S. Coast Guard and MARAD regulatory compliance. He has also executed dozens of shipping transactions in the U.S., South America, Europe, and Asia.
Bob served as lead bankruptcy counsel in two of the largest energy industry bankruptcies (NRG Energy and Calpine). In this capacity, he worked directly with company leadership on all aspects of these complex restructurings, including DIP financing, domestic and international asset divestitures, individual project finance reorganizations, and numerous complex issues involving conflicts between the Bankruptcy Code and state and federal energy regulations.
Prior to joining Bracewell, Bob was the general counsel of a $5 billion distressed debt hedge fund, where he worked closely with the portfolio team in the legal assessment of investment opportunities. He also provided the business and finance teams with legal guidance structuring reorganization transactions, devising implementation strategies, leading negotiations and deal execution. Bob regularly served as one of the fund's representatives on ad hoc lender groups and official committees of unsecured creditors.
Recent Notable Matters
Upper Bay Infrastructure Partners — acquisition of Tidewater Transportation & Terminals, a multi-commodity transportation, terminal, and marine construction and repair company serving the Pacific Northwest, from Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners. Upper Bay Infrastructure Partners was the lead investor of a group consisting of Ullico, funds and accounts under management by BlackRock, Silverfern and certain other co-investors.
Equity owner of Excel Maritime, Ltd — corporate restructuring and Chapter 11 proceeding
Equity owner of Toisa, Ltd. — corporate restructuring and Chapter 11 proceeding
Marco Polo Seatrade, B.V. — Chapter 11 cases in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York
Omega Navigation — a NASDAQ-traded company, which wholly owns eight tankers that transport refined petroleum products, chemicals and other liquids worldwide
Overseas Shipholding, Group — represented ad hoc committee of bondholders in rights offering
General Maritime — represented private equity fund seeking to repossess vessel from Debtors
Venoco, Inc. and its affiliated debtors in possession — Chapter 11 petitions in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware to restructure their debt obligations and capital structure and its affiliates Denver Parent Corporation, TexCal Energy (LP) LLC, Whittier Pipeline Corporation, TexCal Energy (GP) LLC, Ellwood Pipeline, Inc., and TexCal Energy South Texas, L.P.
Optim Energy LLC — counsel to Chapter 11 reorganization, currently pending in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Optim is in the process of reorganizing $753 million of secured debt through plant divestitures and asset optimization efforts.
Optim Energy LLC — Chapter 11 proceedings, including the $126 million sale in a bankruptcy auction of the 305 MW coal-fired Twin Oaks Plant to a unit of Blackstone Group LP and the confirmation of a plan of reorganization for its other operational power plants
NRG Energy, Inc. — lead restructuring counsel in the client's pre-arranged bankruptcy case. Highlights of the case include negotiation of a $752 million settlement payment from NRG's parent company and the design and implementation of a plan of reorganization that distributed $3.4 billion to NRG's creditors and $2.2 billion to subsidiary creditors. NRG was the second largest bankruptcy filing in 2003. At the time of filing, NRG owned interests in 180 power generation projects in 29 states in the United States and 10 foreign countries. Represented NRG in Section 363 sales involving several domestic and international plants in the portfolio.
Calpine Corporation — one of the lead restructuring partners in Calpine's Chapter 11 cases, which involved more than 400 entities and $18 billion of funded debt. At the time of filing, this was the sixth largest Chapter 11 case in U.S. history. During the cases, Bob represented Calpine in Section 363 sales of plants, several sets of turbines and various other assets, which generated more than $2 billion in sale proceeds. Also involved in extensive negotiation and resolution of several billion dollars of energy-related claims.
Ad hoc unsecured bondholder committee — Chapter 11 cases of Mirant Inc., a leading national energy company. The ad hoc committee held over $900 million of unsecured bond debt of Mirant's principal subsidiary. In the course of this representation, negotiated improved terms for the unsecured bondholders under the debtors' plan of reorganization, increasing recoveries by nearly 30 percent above original plan proposal.
Rockland Capital, LLC — acquisition of Beacon Power’s flywheel energy storage system in a Section 363 sale in United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware
NRG Energy, Inc. — sale of LSP Batesville, an 837 MW plant in Batesville, Mississippi to Complete Energy for $330 million (including cash and assumption of project financing obligations).
Large bondholder — $850 million restructuring of Stallion Oilfield Services, Ltd. in a pre-arranged Chapter 11 plan
Hedge fund investor — analysis of the acquisition of distressed oil sands projects in Canada
Powerex Corp. — bankruptcy litigation with Rocky Mountain Power over purported rejection of power purchase agreement
Hedge fund — analysis of numerous energy project finance structures in connection with potential acquisition of distressed debt
Industry clients — entering agreements with counterparties with insolvency risk
Publications and Speeches
"Restructurings as a Business & Investment Opportunity Market Review," 6th Annual Capital Link Greek Shipping Forum, February 2015.