Houston Oil & Gas

Houston Oil & Gas, a Calgary, Alberta-based oil and gas company that focused on acquiring and rejuvenating legacy oil and gas assets, was placed in receivership on October 29 on application by the Orphan Well Association. Holding licenses to operate over 1,400 sites in Alberta, the company has been in discussions with the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) for several months in relation to its financial difficulties. In early October, the company advised the AER that it had ceased operations and did not have the ability to shut-in all of its wells. In the interest of public safety, the OWA moved for a receiver to be appointed to ensure the wells are properly maintained and, where possible, sold and placed in the hands of responsible producers. The total abandonment and reclamation obligations relating to the company's assets are estimated to be over $81.5 million. Hardie & Kelly was appointed receiver. Miles Davison is counsel for the applicant.

ACCEL Energy

ACCEL Energy, a Calgary, Alberta-based oil and gas company, filed an NOI on October 21. Deloitte is the proposal trustee.

Aquila Fabrication and Equipment

Aquila Fabrication and Equipment, a Red Deer, Alberta-based manufacturer of products for the upstream oil and gas industry, along with certain related companies, was placed in receivership on October 18 on application by Tom and Donna Trenerry. Significant and irreconcilable differences have arisen between the applicants, the 100% shareholders of Aquila, and Randal James Hofer, the applicants' son-in-law and an employee in the business responsible for its day-to-day operations. The applicants allege that Hofer is mismanaging the company, including issuing unjustified cheques to himself personally and arranging the company's affairs in a manner which precludes the applicants from having sufficient visibility into the activities and operations of the business. Hofer has allegedly refused to cooperate with the applicants' requests for information and documentation and, fearing that the company may not have sufficient liquidity to meet its obligations, the applicants sought the appointment of a receiver to protect the interests of the company and its creditors. KPMG was appointed receiver. Counsel is Cassels Brock for the applicants, MLT Aikins for the receiver and Warren Sinclair for Randal Hofer.

Skyline Sign Service

Skyline Sign Service, an Edmonton, Alberta-based signage company, filed an NOI on October 9, listing $580.0 thousand in liabilities, including $436.5 thousand to CRA. The Bowra Group was appointed proposal trustee.

Bellatrix Exploration (TSX: BXE)

Bellatrix Exploration (TSX: BXE), a Calgary, Alberta-based oil and gas company, obtained protection under the CCAA on October 2. Facing declining revenues and increasing liquidity challenges as a result of prolonged difficult market conditions, the company made several attempts to improve its capital structure. In June 2019, the company completed a recapitalization transaction pursuant to a CBCA plan of arrangement that, among other things, reduced its debt obligations by approximately $110.0 million. Despite this, commodity prices have slid lower in the last several months, resulting in a near term liquidity crisis. In light of these challenges, the company sought creditor protection to provide stability for the business, additional time to pursue a sale and investment solicitation process and time to advance potential restructuring alternatives. The CCAA proceedings will also give the company access to much needed interim financing. PwC is the monitor. Counsel is Goodmans for the company and BLG for the monitor.

Westridge Cabinets

Westridge Cabinets, a Red Deer, Alberta-based cabinet manufacturer, was placed in receivership on August 16 on application by BMO, owed approximately $2.4 million. Attributing its financial difficulties to the consistent decline in housing starts in Alberta, the company filed an NOI on July 5 after its majority shareholder, Toronto-based Signal Hill Equity Partners, advised that it was no longer prepared to continue supporting the company's financial losses. While under creditor protection, the company began a wind-down of its operations. No proposal was filed by the company and on August 10 it was deemed bankrupt. BMO then moved for a receiver to be appointed to protect its interests. PwC was appointed receiver. Counsel is Dentons for the applicant, BLG for the receiver and TGF for Signal Hill.

Icon Stone & Tile

Icon Stone & Tile, a Calgary, Alberta-based stone fabrication and installation business, filed for bankruptcy on September 3, listing approximately $2.8 million in liabilities, including $1.6 million to HSBC. Grant Thornton was appointed bankruptcy trustee.

Starmor Developments

Starmor Developments, a Calgary, Alberta-based real estate holdings company, filed for bankruptcy on August 26, listing $917.0 thousand in liabilities. Grant Thornton was appointed bankruptcy trustee.

R.D.E. Ventures

R.D.E. Ventures, a Spruce Grove, Alberta-based equipment rental company, was placed in receivership on August 16 on application by National Bank, owed approximately $11.0 million. In March 2019, the then CFO of the company contacted National Bank requesting additional time to provide audited financial statements. By late April, the statements had not yet been provided, despite repeated assurances from the CFO that the statements were a day or two away from being delivered. In May, 2019, National Bank elevated the request for statements to the president of the company, who investigated and discovered that auditors had not even been hired. Concerned with this news, as well as the deteriorating financial position and defaults of the company, National Bank issued a demand for repayment on July 9, which triggered an NOI filing by the company. Further discoveries of funds being diverted to another financial institution, as well as a lack of a feasible restructuring proposal or plan, led National Bank to request that the proposal proceedings be terminated. FTI was appointed receiver. Counsel is McCarthy Tétrault for the applicant and Ogilvie for the company.

Machine Works Industrial

Machine Works Industrial, a Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta-based contractor specializing in welding and steel fabrication, was placed in receivership on August 13 on application by RBC, owed approximately $2.0 million. Deloitte was appointed receiver. Counsel is Burnet, Duckworth & Palmer for the applicant and Duncan Craig for the receiver.

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