PIRAEUS, Greece, June 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- NewLead Holdings Ltd. (NASDAQ: NEWL) ("NewLead") today announced that the Company entered into an agreement with Piraeus Bank S.A. ("Piraeus Bank") to proceed with the sale of the two tanker vessels, Hiona and Hiotissa, for an aggregate amount of $57.0 million and to convert, subject to satisfaction of certain conditions precedent by the Company, $18.1 million debt into 22.1 million shares of NewLead's common stock. As a result of this transaction, NewLead will be released from all obligations under the Piraeus Bank credit facility. These transactions are expected to occur in the third quarter of 2012 and are subject to certain conditions.
Michael Zolotas, President and Chief Executive Officer of NewLead, stated, "The sale of the two vessels is one more step forward in the completion of NewLead's restructuring. Today's agreement with Piraeus Bank to convert debt to equity demonstrates the confidence of our lenders in NewLead's prospects post restructuring."
Michael Zolotas added: "Since July 2011 we have reduced NewLead's indebtedness by an aggregate amount of approximately $445.0 million. Following the successful completion of our overall restructuring efforts, we expect to reduce the amount of debt on our balance sheet to around $58.0 million."
As a result of this transaction, it is expected that NewLead will have a total of 306,943,428 shares of common stock outstanding.NewLead is currently discussing a similar arrangement with Lemissoler Maritime Company W.L.L. Under the agreement with Piraeus Bank (as well as under the terms of the previously announced transaction with Cyprus Popular Bank), any such conversion of debt to equity must be on substantially the same terms. About NewLead Holdings Ltd. NewLead Holdings Ltd. is an international, vertically integrated shipping company that manages product tankers and dry bulk vessels. NewLead currently controls 3 are dry bulk vessels, including one vessel currently under construction that is scheduled to be delivered in the third quarter of 2012. NewLead's common shares are traded under the symbol "NEWL" on the NASDAQ Global Select Market. To learn more about NewLead Holdings Ltd., please visit the new website at www.newleadholdings.com. "Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 This press release includes assumptions, expectations, projections, intentions and beliefs about future events. These statements, as well as words such as "anticipate," "estimate," "project," "plan," and "expect," are intended to be ''forward-looking" statements. We caution that assumptions, expectations, projections, intentions and beliefs about future events may vary from actual results and the differences can be material. Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, such matters as future operating or financial results; our liquidity position and cash flows, our ability to borrow additional amounts under our revolving credit facility and, if needed, to obtain waivers from our lenders and restructure our debt, and our ability to continue as a going concern; statements about planned, pending or recent vessel disposals and/or acquisitions, business strategy, future dividend payments and expected capital spending or operating expenses, including dry-docking and insurance costs; statements about trends in the product tanker and dry bulk vessel shipping segments, including charter rates and factors affecting supply and demand; expectations regarding the availability of vessel acquisitions; completion of repairs; length of off-hire; availability of charters; and anticipated developments with respect to any pending litigation. The forward-looking statements in this press release are based upon various assumptions, many of which are based, in turn, upon further assumptions, including without limitation, management's examination of historical operating trends, data contained in our records and other data available from third parties. Although NewLead believes that these assumptions were reasonable when made, because these assumptions are inherently subject to significant uncertainties and contingencies which are difficult or impossible to predict and are beyond our control, NewLead cannot assure you that it will achieve or accomplish these expectations, beliefs or projections described in the forward looking statements. Important factors that, in our view, could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements include the strength of world economies and currencies, general market conditions, including changes in charter rates and vessel values, failure of a seller to deliver one or more vessels, and other factors discussed in NewLead's filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission from time to time. NewLead expressly disclaims any obligations or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements contained herein to reflect any change in NewLead's expectations with respect thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any statement is based.