Friede Answers Questions About Its Bankruptcy Case

Friede Goldman Halter bankruptcy attorney Hugh Ray put a positive spin on the Gulfport based company's financial situation. During a news conference, he said, "Friede Goldman Halter is one of the healthiest businesses around."

The attorney said that because the bankruptcy case filed Thursday allows Friede Goldman Halter to move forward without paying off its past debts, at least for now. "Instead of putting out fires," Ray said, "we're able to concentrate on what this company does best, which is to build and construct and repair."

Ray told the media that Friede Goldman Halter ran into its financial dilemma when cost overruns hampered construction on two offshore drilling rig contracts. In February, the troubles forced Friede to temporarily layoff 1,000 workers in Jackson County. Earlier this month, it tried but failed to borrow 100 million dollars to help pay its debts. That led to the decision to file for bankruptcy and reorganize company finances.

But according to the attorney, that won't change Friede's day-to-day operations. He said, "It's business as usual from the standpoint of our vendors, our suppliers, and our customers as well as our employees."

Friede Goldman Halter construction yards have more than 5,000 employees. And the attorney said their jobs should be safe during the bankruptcy reorganization talks. Ray also said Friede Goldman Halter will keep bidding for new contracts, so the yards stay busy. "It's our intention to do everything possible to rehabilitate this company," Ray said. "We intend to make payments for current services and goods as they're supplied on a current basis going forward."

Friede Goldman Halter has 120 days to file its reorganization plan in federal bankruptcy court.