Chairman of the Red Apple Group and United Refining Energy Corp. and SemGroup stakeholder
Tulsa-based SemGroup, L.P., was a major player in the world’s energy industry in the not-so-distant past. But in July 2008, the company entered into Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
John Catsimatidis, the New York City-based chairman of the Red Apple Group and United Refining Energy Corp. who recently took over 65 percent of equity in SemGroup, believes that with some restructuring, the company can be successful once again. Castimatidis has 40 years of experience as a businessman, and a record of saving companies in peril.
In my plan for SemGroup … we are exploring all the possibilities. My ideal situation is, we would love to save the company, take the company out of bankruptcy and maximize the value of the company for the creditors. Without making them happy, we won’t be able to get the company out of bankruptcy. If we’re able to get it out of bankruptcy and put it in the right direction, that’s what my goal would be.
My experience in restructuring companies in danger includes … when United Refining was in the exact same position, where they wanted to liquidate the company, and we plucked it out of the hands of the proverbial Larry the Liquidator and we saved the company, and now it’s one of America’s best companies.
I took on reorganizing SemGroup because … I like to save things. You know, there are people who get satisfaction out of destroying things, liquidating companies. I get personal satisfaction out of saving companies and saving jobs.
No competing reorganization plans were presented because … we took 65 percent control of the equity and the company is in debtor of possession, and since we are in control of debtor of possession, we have the exclusive right to present the plan. Some of the consultants — and their job is strictly consultants — are saying we’re being optimistic. We only want to reorganize the company for the benefit of the company and the benefit of the creditors. We’re only doing what we’re supposed to do. Consultants are busy getting consultant checks.
The greatest challenge facing SemGroup right now is … the fact that the consultants don’t want to give up their position of being what they think of as in control. That’s the greatest threat to the company right now.
SemGroup is prepared for a successful future as a company because … we think it could be reorganized, and that the creditors would end up with more benefit if we reorganize it than if Larry the Liquidator liquidates it.
Semgroup will remain headquartered in Tulsa because … it’s already there, they’ve got a great facility, they’ve got great people. Why reinvent the wheel?
I have a connection to Tulsa through … friends in Tulsa. My longtime friend who referred me to the company was (Tulsa businessman) Matt Coughlin.
SemGroup will continue its dedication to the community … hopefully, if the company is profitable. You know, after all, people like to contribute out of profits. You can’t contribute out of losses.
Editor’s note: Catsimatidis’ plan for restructuring SemGroup was scheduled to be presented to creditors in February. At press time, SemGroup executives had filed a lawsuit against Catsimatidis over his leadership of the restructuring management committee. Employees and citizens can keep up with Catsimatidis’ progress on the restructuring plan at www.SemReorg.com.