Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 16 April 2009 -- /PRNewswire/ - AbitibiBowater Inc. today announced that it and certain of its U.S. and Canadian subsidiaries have filed voluntary petitions in the United States under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. AbitibiBowater and certain of its Canadian subsidiaries also will seek creditor protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) in Canada. The company intends to file in Canada on 17 April 2009. AbitibiBowater's subsidiaries located outside the United States and Canada have not commenced Chapter 11, CCAA, or similar proceedings.
The company has concluded that it has no viable alternatives to its previously announced proposed refinancing of its Bowater and Abitibi-Consolidated subsidiaries, and as a result has determined that the best course of action is to pursue its overall restructuring under Court supervision in the United States and Canada. Concurrently with its CCAA filing, the Abitibi-Consolidated subsidiary will request the termination of its previously announced recapitalization transaction under the Canada Business Corporations Act.
AbitibiBowater plans to use this process to deal decisively with its debt burden for the benefit of all stakeholders. The company's normal day-to-day operations will continue during the restructuring process.
AbitibiBowater's board of directors has, after careful deliberation, consultation with its advisors, and extensive consideration of all other alternatives, resolved that the company take this action in the long-term interests of AbitibiBowater, its employees, customers, and other stakeholders.
The company also has announced that it has entered into a financing commitment with Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited and Avenue Management LLC for debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing totaling approximately CAD 200 million for certain of its Bowater subsidiaries. In addition, its Abitibi-Consolidated subsidiary has entered into an amendment providing for the continuation of its existing securitization program for its accounts receivable, in the approximate amount of CAD 210 million. These arrangements are subject to approval of the Courts in both the United States and Canada and will allow the company to meet current operating needs, including wages, benefits, and other operating expenses. Additional financing options are currently under consideration.
"Today's announced decisions ensure business continuity for AbitibiBowater and were made only after all other viable options to recapitalize our long-term debt were exhausted," stated
David J. Paterson, president and chief executive officer. "The steps we are taking today and the vote of confidence given to us by our restructuring financial partners will enable us to protect the value of the business for our many loyal employees, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders," he said.
"Over many months, we undertook an exhaustive examination of the company's recapitalization options," said
Dick Evans, chairman of the board of directors. "The board and management believe the actions initiated today will allow the company to make the necessary changes to ensure the long-term viability of the company within a process that ensures fair and equitable treatment for all stakeholders, while allowing it to continue to meet the needs of its customers."
The company's financial advisors are Blackstone Advisory Services LP and BMO Capital Markets and its legal advisors are Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Rice LLP, Stikeman Elliott LLP, and Troutman Sanders LLP.
More information about AbitibiBowater's restructuring process can be found at www.abitibibowater.com or by calling toll-free 888-266-9280. International callers should dial 503-597-7698.
AbitibiBowater produces a wide range of newsprint, commercial printing papers, market pulp, and wood products. It is the eighth largest publicly traded pulp and paper manufacturer in the world. AbitibiBowater owns or operates 23 pulp and paper facilities and 30 wood products facilities located in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and South Korea. Marketing its products in more than 90 countries, the company is also among the world's largest recyclers of old newspapers and magazines, and has third-party certified 100% of its managed woodlands to sustainable forest management standards. AbitibiBowater's shares trade under the stock symbol ABH on both the New York Stock Exchange and the Toronto Stock Exchange.