Trailer Bridge Files for Bankruptcy Protection

Trailer Bridge Files for Bankruptcy Protection

U.S.-Puerto Rico carrier Trailer Bridge filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization on Wednesday, a day after failing to refinance $82.5 million in bond debt that became due Tuesday.

The company said it will continue operation and has an agreement for $15 million in debtor-in-possession financing. The financing, worked out with Global Hunter Securities, is subject to approval of the U.S. bankruptcy court in Jacksonville, Fla., where Trailer Bridge is headquartered.

Trailer Bridge told the Securities and Exchange Commission late Tuesday the company expected to file its quarterly report by Nov. 21, a week behind schedule. The company said it needed extra time because the company has been focused on its bond refinancing efforts.

The company said it views the Chapter 11 filing as “the quickest and most efficient way to restructure its balance sheet and ensure the long-term strength of its operations.” Trailer Bridge said it hopes to complete the reorganization by the end of the first quarter of 2012.

The bankruptcy reorganization, “if successfully implemented, will result in a revitalized company with a vastly improved and deleveraged balance sheet, “Co-CEOs William G. Gotimer Jr. and Mark A. Tanner said in a statement

Wells Fargo Bank last month granted any an extension to Nov. 14 on Trailer Bridge’s 9.25 percent senior secured bonds due Nov. 15.

In the carrier’s second quarter report Aug. 15, Trailer Bridge said it was “exploring a number or options that might involve the private or public lending market and may include an equity component, and that might result in a change of control.”

Trailer Bridge operates a container-barge service between Jacksonville, Fla., and Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. The company also operates motor carrier service in the 48 contiguous states.

Founded in 1991 by the late containerization pioneer Malcom McLean, Trailer Bridge the smallest of the four liner operators between the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico.