Limetree Bay Refinery Seeks More Time to Woo a Buyer

On the south shore of St. Croix, Limetree Bay Refinery overlooks an aqua sea on Tuesday, May 25. Restarted last February after almost a decade in mothballs, the refinery filed for Chapter 11 protection in July and is seeking a buyer. (Source file photo by Patricia Borns)

Limetree Bay Refinery proposed new deadlines for the bidding and sale of its bankrupt oil refining operations on Friday that will be heard and likely approved in the Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of Texas on Wednesday, Sept. 15.

Under the current schedule, Limetree was to have identified a stalking horse, or low-end bidder, by Friday, and close a sale by Nov. 8. The extension of more than a month allows prospective purchasers additional time to tour the physical plant on St. Croix, Limetree lead bankruptcy counsel Elizabeth Green said. 

The company reported in August that it had sent almost 20 non-disclosure agreements to possible buyers. While Green couldn’t discuss specifics of who they are, her motion suggests that Limetree, if given more time, could cultivate one who could set a bottom price point for the assets to prevent others from under-bidding the purchase price.

“The paramount goal of any proposed sale of property of a debtor is to maximize the value received by the estate,” Green wrote in her motion. While the Debtors have received significant interest in the acquisition of the Assets, discussions with interested parties remain ongoing. Accordingly, the Debtors believe, in their sound business judgment, that additional time would substantially benefit the estates and creditors by providing an opportunity to continue such discussions and, ultimately, negotiate the most advantageous proposal available to serve as a stalking horse bid for the sale.”

As a debtor in possession, Limetree is operating on a short financial leash with a cash loan keeping it afloat until it can realize a sale that would allow its creditors to be paid. It filed for Chapter 11 protection in July after a short-lived attempt to revive the circa 1960s St. Croix refinery, previously owned by Hovensa. The company owes over $1.2 billion to secured creditors, according to recent court documents.

The proposed new schedule would not require other changes to the DIP order, Green wrote.

If approved on Wednesday, Limetree’s sale milestones will change as follows:

Current Date/Deadline Proposed Date/Deadline
Bid Summary Deadline September 7, 2021 October 15, 2021
Stalking Horse Designation Deadline September 10, 2021 October 18, 2021
Deadline to file Stalking Horse Notice and Notice of Potential Assumption and Assignment of

Executory Contracts

September 13, 2021 October 21, 2021
Bid Deadline and Credit Bid Designation Deadline September

p.m. CT

17, 2021, at 5:00 October 25, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. CT
Deadline to object to Stalking Horse Notice September 17, 2021 October 25, 2021
Deadline to provide notice of Auction location September

a.m. CT

20, 2021, at 10:00 October 27, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. CT
Auction Date September

a.m. CT

22, 2021, at 10:00 October 29, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. CT
Deadline to file the Designation of Winning Bid September 24, 2021 October 31, 2021
Deadline to object to the Sale October 4, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. CT November 10, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. CT
Deadline to reply to objection(s) to the Sale October 8, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. CT November 14, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. CT
Contract Assumption Objection Deadline October 8, 2021, at 12:00 p.m. CT November 14,

p.m. CT

2021, at 12:00
Deadline to file Amended Designation of Winning Bid to add Additional Purchased


October 12, 2021 November 18, 2021
Sale Hearing (subject to Court


October 14, 2021 November 20, 2021
Expected entry of Sale Order October 15, 2021 November 21, 2021
Deadline to file Amended Designation of Winning Bid to remove previously identified

Executory Contracts

October 31, 2021 December 2, 2021
Deadline for Winning Bidder to close sale transaction November 1, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. CT December 3, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. CT
Deadline for Back-up Bidder to close sale transaction (if applicable) November 8, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. CT December 10, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. CT