Mar 08, 2012

Blackstone’s GSO Partners with Native Alaskan Corporation to Acquire GIS

In early 2011, a bulge bracket bank had fully committed to finance a $435 million loan to NANA Development Corporation (NDC).  Proceeds from the transaction were expected to fund the company’s acquisition of Grand Isle Shipyard (GIS), one of the largest oilfield services businesses in the Gulf of Mexico, and to repay existing debt.  By June 2011, amid the burgeoning panic surrounding the European fiscal situation, the loan faced unclear prospects of syndication, resulting in a potentially large concentration of risk on the bank’s balance sheet. The bank contacted Blackstone’s Credit Business, GSO Capital Partners, to assist in the restructuring of the transaction, which would facilitate GSO’s funding of a substantial portion of the commitment.

Headquartered in Alaska, NDC is the business arm and wholly owned subsidiary of NANA Regional Corporation.  NANA’s owners are members of the Iñupiat native population which has inhabited northwest Alaska for more than 10,000 years.  GSO played an active role in the restructuring of the loan, making possible a revised financing composed of a $175 million first-lien term loan and a $260 million second-lien term loan.

This transaction enabled NDC to continue its strategy of diversifying its growth and expanding its presence in the oil, gas and mining services sector, as well as acquiring a presence in the Gulf of Mexico.  The company’s success is critical to its Iñupiat shareholders, who rely on NDC to generate income to supplement their subsistence lifestyle, to sponsor programs that create training and educational opportunities for their communities, and to aid in the preservation of an important indigenous culture.