Creditors of Premier Oil have extended a waiver for the group's debt covenant test until Nov. 5, Premier said on Thursday, granting it breathing space to avoid an immediate debt crunch and work on a longer-term plan.
Premier needs to convince at least 75% of its creditors that the best solution is for the company to extend debt maturities to 2025 and try to raise $530 million, part of which would be spent on buying assets from BP to boost production.
In August, Premier said it had 45% of creditors on board. It did not provide an updated tally on Thursday.
"Premier's creditors have approved an extension to the previously announced Stable Platform Agreement with the group's financial covenants waived through to 5 November 2020," Premier said after its previous waiver ran out on Wednesday.
"Discussions continue relating to the proposed refinancing and possible alternative transactions."
Premier, saddled with about $1.9 billion in net debt, is in talks with rival Chrysaor on an alternative deal.
Backed by private equity firms EIG Global Partners and Harbour Energy, Chrysaor is one of many private companies that have ploughed billions of dollars into energy investments in the North Sea, with a view to possible stock market flotations.
Chrysaor would not buy any debt in a potential deal, a source with knowledge of the matter said. Typically, debt holders take precedence over shareholders in a liquidity crunch.
Premier Oil hired investment banks RBC Capital Markets and Jefferies, while Barclays and Bank of Montreal (BMO) are advising Chrysaor, the sources said.
Premier's biggest creditor, hedge fund ARCM, held an auction for $200 million of Premier's debt last week at 72 cents to the dollar but attracted limited interest, according to a source close to matter.
Premier, ARCM and Chrysaor declined to comment. (Additional reporting by Ron Bousso Editing by David Goodman)