NASSAU, Bahamas, Dec. 12, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ultrapetrol (Bahamas) Limited (Nasdaq:ULTR), an industrial transportation company serving marine transportation needs in three markets (River Business, Offshore Supply Business and Ocean Business), announced today the closing of its previously announced investment agreement with Sparrow Capital Investments, Ltd ("Sparrow"), a subsidiary of Southern Cross Latin America Private Equity Funds III and IV ("Southern Cross"). Ultrapetrol sold 110,000,000 shares of newly issued common stock to Sparrow at a purchase price of $2.00 per share. The Company received proceeds of $220 million from the transaction. Prior to closing of the transaction, Sparrow waived the condition to closing that required the Company to obtain a waiver of certain repurchase rights by holders of the Company's Convertible Senior Notes due 2017 (the "Convertible Notes"). Net proceeds from the investment will strengthen the Company's balance sheet and be used for general corporate purposes, including financing growth opportunities in Ultrapetrol's Offshore Business Unit in Brazil. As previously announced, the transaction was approved by a special committee of Ultrapetrol´s Board of Directors comprising two disinterested directors that received a fairness opinion, in accordance with the Company´s Articles and Memorandum of Association. Ultrapetrol also announced that it has appointed Horacio Reyser and Gonzalo Alende Serra to its board of directors, effective immediately, following the resignation of Leonard J. Hoskinson and Michael C. Hagan. In addition, in connection with the investment agreement between Sparrow and the Company executed on November 13, 2012, the Company (1) made certain amendments to its Articles and Memorandum of Association at the time of closing, and (2) entered into a registration rights agreement for the shares purchased by Sparrow and shares currently owned by two existing shareholders of the Company. Felipe Menéndez, Ultrapetrol's President and Chief Executive Officer, said, "Southern Cross Group has a history of successfully working with companies in South America to achieve their long-term goals, and we look forward to having them as a partner. With this investment, we have secured $220 million in additional equity which significantly strengthens our balance sheet and enhances our ability to execute our growth strategy.
"Additionally, we are pleased to have appointed Mr. Reyser and Mr. Alende to our board as we continue to capitalize on attractive opportunities in our River and Offshore Businesses. I would like to thank Mr. Hoskinson and Mr. Hagan for their service as board members and their dedication over many years to the Company´s interests."Horacio Reyser is a partner with Southern Cross and has been with the firm since 1998. Prior to joining Southern Cross, Mr. Reyser worked for INFUPA, a regional M&A advisory firm. Mr. Reyser also worked for the Techint Group, initially in strategic planning at Tenaris-Siderca and later at Siderar-Ternium, where he focused on a wide variety of operational projects and strategic acquisitions. Mr. Reyser holds a degree in Industrial Engineering from Instituto Tecnologico de Buenos Aires (ITBA) and completed an Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. Gonzalo Alende Serra joined Southern Cross in 2007 after a 16-year career working in finance at several world-class companies with a regional focus. Prior to joining Southern Cross, Mr. Alende served as Compliance Manager and Global Risk Manager for Tenaris from 2003 to 2006 and Vice President, Investor Relations for Impsat in 2002. Prior to that, he worked as a management consultant with Arthur D. Little and McKinsey and as an auditor with PricewaterhouseCoopers, then Price Waterhouse. Mr. Alende received his Accounting degree from the Universidad de Belgrano in Buenos Aires, and his MBA from the University of London (Imperial College). He is a CFA Charterholder. Following the new appointments, the board of directors comprises seven members. In addition to the two new appointments, being the Southern Cross Group nominees, the following existing directors remain on the board: Felipe Menendez Ross, Ricardo Menendez Ross, Fernando Barros Tocornal, Eduardo Ojea Quintana and George Wood. Mr. Wood will continue to serve as an independent director and sole member of the audit committee.
Under the indenture governing the Convertible Notes (the "Indenture"), the sale of the shares to Sparrow represents a "Fundamental Change" (as defined in the Indenture), which gives each holder of Convertible Notes the right to require the Company to repurchase all of its Convertible Notes on the Fundamental Change Repurchase Date (as defined in the Indenture) at par plus accrued but unpaid interest. The Company will provide notice of the Fundamental Change to the holders of the Convertible Notes in accordance with the provisions of the Indenture.About Ultrapetrol Ultrapetrol is an industrial transportation company serving the marine transportation needs of its clients in the markets on which it focuses. It serves the shipping markets for containers, grain and soya bean products, forest products, minerals, crude oil, petroleum, and refined petroleum products, as well as the offshore oil platform supply market with its extensive and diverse fleet of vessels. These include river barges and pushboats, platform supply vessels, tankers and two container feeder vessels. More information on Ultrapetrol can be found at www.ultrapetrol.net. The Ultrapetrol (Bahamas) Limited logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=3164 About Southern Cross Group Southern Cross is a private equity firm founded in 1998 to make investments in Latin American companies that have significant potential for improved performance and growth. Since inception, Southern Cross has raised over $2.5 billion and has invested in over 30 companies in a wide range of industries, including consumer goods, retail, homebuilding, entertainment, logistics, pharmaceuticals, energy, oil & gas, public services, IT, and telecom. Southern Cross seeks to deliver superior returns by the optimization of companies' strategic direction and operating performance. As a result of its extensive regional experience, Southern Cross is well-positioned to identify and capitalize on high quality investment opportunities in Latin America.
Forward-Looking LanguageThe 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, our management's examination of historical operating trends, data contained in our records and other data available from third parties. Although we believe 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, we cannot assure you that we will achieve or accomplish these expectations, beliefs or projections. In addition to these important factors, other important factors that, in our view, could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements include future operating or financial results; pending or recent acquisitions, business strategy and expected capital spending or operating expenses, including dry docking and insurance costs; general market conditions and trends, including charter rates, vessel values, and factors affecting vessel supply and demand; our ability to obtain additional financing; our financial condition and liquidity, including our ability to obtain financing in the future to fund capital expenditures, acquisitions and other general corporate activities; our expectations about the availability of vessels to purchase, the time that it may take to construct new vessels, or vessels' useful lives; our dependence upon the abilities and efforts of our management team; changes in governmental rules and regulations or actions taken by regulatory authorities; adverse weather conditions that can affect production of the goods we transport and navigability of the river system; the highly competitive nature of the oceangoing transportation industry; the loss of one or more key customers; fluctuations in foreign exchange rates and devaluations; potential liability from future litigation; and other factors. Please see our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a more complete discussion of these and other risks and uncertainties.