- International Practice
- Securities Regulation
- Climate Change
- Financial Institutions
- Labor and Employment
- Strategic Communications
- Corporate and Securities
- Financial Restructuring
- Educational Institutions
- Private Funds
- Intellectual Property
- Public Finance
- White Collar Defense
- Environmental Strategies
- Internal Investigations
- Real Estate and Projects
Robert G. Burns
Robert Burns concentrates his practice on U.S. and international corporate restructurings and insolvency matters. Bob brings a unique and diverse background to the table, as he has advised distressed debt investors in acquisitions, restructurings, bankruptcy proceedings and the purchase of distressed assets and securities; counseled boards of directors and senior managers of financially troubled companies regarding fiduciary duties and restructuring strategies; and represented debtors in complex "mega-company" bankruptcies. He has broad restructuring experience over several industries, with a particular focus on energy, shipping and transportation.
Bob served as lead bankruptcy counsel in two of the largest energy industry bankruptcies (NRG Energy and Calpine). In this capacity, he worked directly with company leadership on all aspects of these complex restructurings, including DIP financing, domestic and international asset divestitures, individual project finance reorganizations, and numerous complex issues involving conflicts between the Bankruptcy Code and state and federal energy regulations.
Bob has appeared in bankruptcy courts in Delaware, Maryland, Maine, Florida, Mississippi, Minnesota, Texas, Montana, Utah, Nevada, California, Missouri, Louisiana, Indiana, New Jersey and Illinois.
Prior to joining Bracewell, Bob was the general counsel of a $5 billion distressed debt hedge fund, where he worked closely with the portfolio team in the legal assessment of investment opportunities. He also provided the business and finance teams with legal guidance structuring reorganization transactions, devising implementation strategies, leading negotiations and deal execution. Bob regularly served as one of the fund's representatives on ad hoc lender groups and official committees of unsecured creditors.
Bob was a partner in the restructuring group of Kirkland & Ellis until 2005. While there, he focused primarily on the representation of debtors in restructurings in the maritime, energy and airline industries.
Bob’s maritime law experience dating back to his tenure as the general counsel of American Commercial Lines, where he advised the company on legal issues such as vessel acquisitions, vessel charters and contracts of affreightment, shipbuilding contracts, domestic and international ship finance matters and U.S. Coast Guard and MARAD regulatory compliance. He has also executed dozens of shipping transactions in the U.S., South America, Europe, and Asia. Bob and his team have served as restructuring counsel in several maritime restructuring matters, including company counsel to Marco Polo Seatrade, TMT Procurement Corporation, Trico Marine Services, and Omega Navigation Enterprises. On the investor side, Bob has served as counsel to the ad hoc bondholders in the Overseas Shipholding Group restructuring; an Irish private equity fund in the General Maritime bankruptcy; and several private German and Norwegian shipowners with claims against Sanko Steamship in its Japanese insolvency proceeding and U.S. Chapter 15 case. Bob also routinely represents corporate, private equity and hedge fund clients in the evaluation and execution of investment strategies in the shipping sector. Most recently, Bob represented the purchaser of a nine vessel, state-of-the-art Jones Act product tanker fleet from a private equity fund.
Representative Energy Sector Restructuring Experience
Counsel to Optim Energy in its Chapter 11 reorganization, currently pending in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Optim is in the process of reorganizing $753 million of secured debt through plant divestitures and asset optimization efforts.
Represented Optim Energy in the recent $126 million sale of its Twin Oaks power plant, a 305 MW coal-power facility located in Robertson County, Texas to a unit of Blackstone. The transaction was consummated in a Section 363 sale process.
Lead restructuring counsel to NRG Energy in its pre-arranged bankruptcy case. Highlights of the case include negotiation of a $752 million settlement payment from NRG's parent company and the design and implementation of a plan of reorganization that distributed $3.4 billion to NRG's creditors and $2.2 billion to subsidiary creditors. NRG was the second largest bankruptcy filing in 2003.At the time of filing, NRG owned interests in 180 power generation projects in 29 states in the United States and 10 foreign countries. Represented NRG in Section 363 sales involving several domestic and international plants in the portfolio.
One of the lead restructuring partners in Calpine's Chapter 11 cases, which involved more than 400 entities and $18 billion of funded debt. At the time of filing, this was the sixth largest Chapter 11 case in U.S. history. During the cases, Bob represented Calpine in Section 363 sales of plants, several sets of turbines and various other assets, which generated more than $2 billion in sale proceeds. Also involved in extensive negotiation and resolution of several billion dollars of energy-related claims.
Represented an ad hoc unsecured bondholder committee in the Chapter 11 cases of Mirant Inc., a leading national energy company. The ad hoc committee held over $900 million of unsecured bond debt of Mirant's principal subsidiary. In the course of this representation, negotiated improved terms for the unsecured bondholders under the debtors' plan of reorganization, increasing recoveries by nearly 30 percent above original plan proposal.
Represented Rockland Capital in acquisition of Beacon Power’s flywheel energy storage system in a Section 363 sale in United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.
Represented NRG in sale of LSP Batesville, an 837 MW plant in Batesville, Mississippi to Complete Energy for $330 million (including cash and assumption of project financing obligations).
Represented largest bondholder in $850 million restructuring of Stallion Oilfield Services, Ltd. in a prearranged Chapter 11 plan.
Represented hedge fund investor in analysis of acquisition of distressed oil sands projects in Canada.
Represented Powerex Corp. in bankruptcy litigation with Rocky Mountain Power over purported rejection of power purchase agreement.
Representation of hedge fund in analysis of numerous energy project finance structures in connection with potential acquisition of distressed debt.
Representation of industry clients entering agreements with counterparties with insolvency risk.
Publications and Speeches
"Restructurings as a Business & Investment Opportunity Market Review," 6th Annual Capital Link Greek Shipping Forum, February 2015
J.D., University of Louisville School of Law, 1995
M.B.A., University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, 2003
A.B., St. Edward's University, 1991
U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
American Bankruptcy Institute
Legalease, The Legal 500 United States, Corporate Restructuring, 2015-2016