Carl Marks Advisors was recently named one of the top 12 Outstanding Turnaround Firms of 2015 by Turnarounds & Workouts. We are particularly honored to receive this award because of the specific engagements recognized: Cal Dive, Joe’s Jeans, Associated Wholesalers and American Bancorporation. Each of these deals demonstrates the value Carl Marks Advisors unlocks for stakeholders of businesses undergoing challenges and for investors seeking growth opportunities. Carl Marks Advisors’ unique skill set of providing nationally recognized operational consulting and investment banking solutions, often in seamless conjunction, continues to deliver excellent results for its clients.
As 2015 draws to a close, we feel 2016 will start with momentum, and we see a new set of opportunities to build upon our award-winning services within the oil and gas, education and healthcare industries.
By all indications, 2016 appears to be a year of continued distress for oil and gas related companies. Last year alone 19 oil and gas companies fell into bankruptcy, and that number only stands to grow if oil prices remain low and banks continue to cut back lending. Because the upstream sector is the most susceptible to commodity prices, it will likely be the first segment to react. As redetermination periods occur through spring, oil companies are expected to face reduced borrowing bases from their lenders, diminishing working capital and runway to reposition their businesses. These limitations on borrowing will continue to augur for a wave of mergers and acquisitions to occur over the next 6-12 months, as companies seek greater scale to weather the commodity down cycle.
We expect that middle market E&P companies, equipment manufacturers/suppliers and oilfield service providers will continue to be among the early victims of decreased onshore drilling activity in the U.S. Our engagement with Cal Dive is just one illustration of our deep experience assisting companies in the sector. The Carl Marks Advisors team successfully executed multiple vessel sales to domestic and international buyers in a highly distressed market by drawing on its management leadership, complex project implementation and focused transaction execution skills. In 2016, we’ll continue utilizing these traits as we help similar firms facing complex restructurings in and out of court.
We also expect continued headwinds in the post-secondary education sector. Many for-profit and not-for-profit colleges and universities remain in declining financial health as they face increased scrutiny by from the federal government, concerned prospective students, parents and creditors. Declining enrollment rates, a general shift to online education, and a culture resistant to change are just a few of the factors contributing to operating deficits. Our award-winning team brings real education industry knowledge and experience in managing faculty and administration resources, curriculum and program evaluation resources, and financial and real estate transaction capabilities. We combine these specific skills with our years of experience advising and creating innovative restructuring plans for struggling colleges.
Healthcare faces its own challenges in the New Year, including continued migration to value based services, significant margin and volume compression, the implementation of new regulations and related cost increases, and continued industry consolidation as providers seek to achieve scale and enhance operating efficiencies. Given these tectonic industry-wide sweeping changes, many healthcare companies and organizations are entangled with multiple crises managing vendors, customers, regulatory compliance and creditors. We have extensive experience in this sector, having recently advised constituents in Physiotherapy, Landauer-Metropolitan, ProCure, and numerous community hospitals and providers.
Our team looks forward to leveraging our experience in 2016 in the oil and gas, education, and healthcare industries as all three continue facing drastic changes.
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