Rickmers Creditors to Get Just 11 Cents on the Dollar Following Completion of Fleet Sale

The Loadstar
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July 12, 2017

Photo: Rickmers Maritime

By Mike Wackett (The Loadstar) – Unsecured creditors of bankrupt panamax containership owner Rickmers Maritime Trust (RMT) will each receive just 11.4% of the amount they are due.

This will come from the final proceeds of $27m, according to an update on the winding-up process.

The trustee manager of Singapore-headquartered RMT announced it had completed the sale of the remaining fleet of nine vessels to Greek shipowner Navios, secured against mortgages from HSH Nordbank and DBS Bank.

A total of $54m, plus operational expenses, was paid by Navios, which, according to vesselsvalue.com data, is just above the ships’ scrap value and far below the market value of $67m.

Navios bought the five other panamax vessels in RMT’s fleet in May.

In an update, the trustees said: “After funding cash burn, operating expenses and the settlement of costs associated with the winding up of the trust, unsecured creditors are expected to receive total proceeds of $27m.”

Of the 14 ships of 3,450-5,060 teu capacity owned by RMT, five were on long-term charter to MOL at a daily rate of $26,850 – some three times higher than the current spot market – and it is presumed that the charter parties will have been signed over to Navios as part of the deal. No doubt the fact that five of the ships had charter parties attached was a major attraction for the Greek shipowner.

Meanwhile, in Hamburg, RMT parent Rickmers Holding is still looking for investors to rescue the iconic family-owned shipping company from insolvency under the self-administration it entered on 2 June.

Rickmers said it had been forced to seek court protection for the shipping group – which can trace its history back 180 years – after HSH Nordbank had “surprisingly denied approval” of its financial restructuring plan.

On 16 June, the Rickmers’ creditors committee announced it had selected investment banker Macquarie Capital to “acquire one or more investors for the Rickmers Group”.

According to vesselsvalue.com, Rickmers Group operates 37 vessels with a current sales value of $654m and a demolition value of $240m. Of the fleet, 31 vessels are containerships chartered to ocean carriers and feeder lines.

Maersk Line has seven 13,100 teu ships on charter from Rickmers and has faced concerns from anxious shippers that the vessels could be the subject of arrest and that a similar situation to the Hanjin crash could occur, with cargo stranded at sea.

Indeed, Maersk and 2M partner MSC, which has three smaller ships on charter from Rickmers, have been obliged to issue statements reassuring customers that they have contingency plans in place if a Rickmers ship is arrested by a desperate creditor.

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