March 13, 2014

Energy Future Holdings lining up loans for bankruptcy filing

The Dallas-based power company, struggling with more than $40 billion in debt from a 2007 leveraged buyout, is close to obtaining about $7.2 billion in loans.

Dallas-based Energy Future Holdings is close to obtaining commitments from lenders for about $7.2 billion in loans for the power provider’s regulated businesses as part of a plan to speed a bankruptcy reorganization, according to two people with direct knowledge of the talks.

The debtor-in-possession financing, typically used to fund operations during Chapter 11 proceedings, would include a $5.2 billion portion for its Energy Future Intermediate Holding Co. subsidiary from lenders including Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.

A second loan, for as much as $2 billion, would give EFH the option of repaying existing second-lien debt on the subsidiary, which includes EFH’s 80 percent stake in Oncor Electric Delivery, the regulated utility that operates the poles and wires that serve most of North Texas.

Energy Future’s unregulated unit, Texas Competitive Electric Holdings, is separately arranging more than $4 billion of DIP financing, one of the people said. That unit includes Luminant Generation, the state’s largest power producer, and TXU Energy, the state’s largest retail seller of electricity.

It’s been widely reported that a bankruptcy filing would mean splitting up Luminant and TXU Energy.

The loans are part of talks by EFH, its private-equity owners and unsecured lenders to solidify a plan aimed at avoiding a free-for-all during Chapter 11 proceedings. The Dallas-based company, created in 2007 by the $45 billion leveraged buyout of TXU Corp. led by KKR, TPG Capital and Goldman Sachs, is seeking to restructure its debt before the end of the month when auditors may raise doubts about its ability to remain a going concern.

Allan Koenig, a spokesman for Energy Future, declined to comment, as did Mayura Hooper, a spokeswoman for Deutsche Bank and Robert Julavits of Citigroup. Mark Lake, a spokesman for Morgan Stanley, didn’t immediately comment.

But the business has struggled with the huge debt since natural gas prices collapsed in the ensuing years, and investors aren't expected to see much of the $8.3 billion they put into the deal. They have already written off most of the value of that stake.

The company has said any bankruptcy filing would not affect its daily operations.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

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