(flyingrussian)

The prolonged economic slump plaguing the global energy industry pushed four money companies into bankruptcy in recent weeks, with a fifth teetering on the precipice.

Singapore-based offshore oilfield services firm Ezra Holdings Ltd. seeking Chapter 11 protection Saturday in White Plains, New York. Saul Ewing and Singapore’s Drew & Napier are advising Ezra in its bankruptcy case, one in which the debtor lists assets of up to $1 billion against up to $500 million in liabilities. Neither firm has yet filed billing statements with the bankruptcy court in White Plains.

Saul Ewing and Singapore’s Drew & Napier are advising Ezra and two affiliates in their bankruptcy case, one in which the debtor lists assets of up to $1 billion against up to $500 million in liabilities. Neither firm has yet filed billing statements with the bankruptcy court in White Plains.

According to a list of Ezra’s 20 largest unsecured creditors, the company owes money to five outside law firms: Allen & Overy ($30,488.26); Baker McKenzie ($18,276.35); Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer ($13,274.76); Malaysia’s Rahmat Lim & Partners ($9,964.58); and offshore firm Walkers ($4,061.35).

Ezra’s bankruptcy comes a few weeks after EMAS Chiyoda Subsea Inc., an offshore energy joint venture between Ezra and certain Japanese partners, filed its own Chapter 11 case in Houston on Feb. 27. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, which has been busy racking up fees in the ongoing bankruptcy of solar energy giant SunEdison Inc., and Porter Hedges are representing EMAS Chiyoda in the matter. Neither firm has yet filed billing statements with the bankruptcy court.

Aquion Energy Inc., a clean technology company that once received an investment from billionaire Bill Gates to further its production of saltwater batteries for electric grids, filed for bankruptcy in Delaware on March 8. The Pittsburgh-based company, which received some public funding, has terminated most of its workers and shut down production as it seeks a potential Chapter 11 sale of its operations.

Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones is advising Aquion in its bankruptcy case. A declaration by Pachulski Stang name partner Laura Davis Jones states that her firm received $265,000 from Aquion over the past year. Hourly rates for Pachulski Stang partners range from $625 to $1,245, while of counsel and associates at the bankruptcy boutique are billing between $575 to $995 and $450 to $595, respectively, for their services.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, which is serving as general corporate counsel to Aquion, has not yet filed billing statements with the bankruptcy court.

Also filing for bankruptcy in Delaware on March 13 was Sungevity Inc. The Oakland, California-based solar power company has inked an asset purchase agreement with Northern Pacific Group, a collection of investors promising to put up $20 million to help Sungevity continue operations, despite the fact that it has stopped paying hundreds of workers.

Sungevity, whose general counsel is Elizabeth Rushford, has retained Morrison & Foerster and Delaware’s Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor to advise it in Chapter 11. Young Conaway has received $95,424.40 in prebankruptcy payments in order to serve as local counsel to Sungevity, according to court documents.

Court filings show that Morrison & Foerster received advance payments totaling $1.5 million in the period prior to Sungevity’s bankruptcy filing. Partners at MoFo are billing between $760 to $1,340 per hour for their services, of counsel and senior counsel from $695 to $1,260, and associates at rates ranging from $435 and $830.

According to a list of Sungevity’s 20 unsecured creditors, the company owes nearly $1.9 million to Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. The firm advised Sungevity last year when the rooftop solar panel maker become a public company following its merger with Easterly Acquisition Corp. MoFo also had a role on that transaction, according to securities filings.

Lastly, Reuters reported earlier this month that Westinghouse Electric Co. LLC, the U.S. nuclear power plant developer owned by troubled Japanese conglomerate Toshiba Corp., has hired Weil, Gotshal & Manges for a potential bankruptcy filing after taking a $6.3 billion writedown in February. Weil has had a longtime relationship with Westinghouse, which was acquired by Toshiba in 2006.

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