Indonesia's Debt-Saddled Berlian Laju Files for Creditor Protection in US

Units of Berlian Laju Tanker, Indonesia’s largest oil and gas shipping group, filed for Chapter 15 creditor protection in a US bankruptcy court early Wednesday morning, The Jakarta Globe reported on a Reuters story. The company’s units have listed assets and liabilities in the $50 million to $100 million range, according to a filing with the US bankruptcy court in the Southern District of New York. Under US bankruptcy laws, Chapter 15 grants a foreign company protection from creditors looking to seize its assets in the country. On Tuesday, Berlian Laju said some of its subsidiaries had obtained court orders in Singapore to stay all legal proceedings against them for a period of three months. The company said last month it had defaulted on six of its debt instruments, comprising both dollar-denominated debt and local currency bonds. In January, it said it was freezing payments on its debt of $2 billion while it talked to creditors about restructuring its operations and finances. Soaring fuel costs, Europe’s debt crisis and the lack of bank financing is prolonging a four-year shipping crisis that has forced some of the biggest names in the industry to falter. Read more.