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Bridge Resources CEO: On The Record

Nick Clayton (finally) talks to BW about sale

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It took five months but Bridge Resources CEO Nick Clayton finally returned Boise Weekly's call.

Clayton said he was ready to talk on the record as he prepared to divest his company's Idaho assets in order to pay off tens in millions of dollars in debt. Last fall, BW chronicled Bridge's bumpy journey (BW, Feature, "Bridge Under Troubled Waters," Oct. 5, 2011) from its money losing North Sea drilling operations to its land deals with hundreds of Idaho ranchers and the ultimate plummet of its share value on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

In 2011, Clayton was pegged by Bridge shareholders to salvage their company. His first order of business was to clean house--accepting the resignations of the company's top three executives.

"I can tell you that, ever since, we've been in a desperate attempt to save this company," he said.

Bridge is now prepared to sell much of its interest from commercial well sites near New Plymouth--the majority of which yielded commercially viable natural gas discoveries. Clayton said the asset sale, to an unnamed Houston-based firm, should cure most of its foreign and domestic debts.

"We owe approximately $46 million to the Bank of Scotland," said Clayton.

As BW reported last fall, the Royal Bank of Scotland is a secured party on more than 260 land and mineral leases that Bridge brokered with Idaho families and businesses. The Scottish bank wasn't Bridge's only lender.

"We owe another $20 million on a second, subordinate note," said Clayton. "Plus we still owe quite a bit of money to some Idaho individuals and companies."

Clayton confirmed that Bridge hadn't paid approximately $800,000 to Idaho contractors and subcontractors who worked at Bridge's well sites through much of 2010 and early 2011. But he cautioned that no one would get a dime if the deal isn't approved.

"This sale is enabling Bridge to satisfy most of our creditors," he said. "But without it, nothing."

It all comes down to Friday, March 30, when Bridge shareholders will formally vote on the proposed sale agreement. Clayton said he was busy securing "yes" votes.

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