German shipping company Norddeutsche Reederei H. Schuldt, currently undergoing restructuring, has denied media reports that claimed that a huge chunk of its fleet is being sold off within a bidding process.
Local media said that hsh portfoliomanagement AöR had launched a bidding process for 35 ships of the company’s 50 ship-strong fleet, comprising mostly containerships. The reports also said the bidding process included vessel management services and claimed the move was being pursued with the aim of boosting liquidity.
hsh portfoliomanagement AöR is a public sector special purpose entity established in 2015 to take over and wind-down a portfolio of non-performing loans from HSH Nordbank AG as part of the bank’s restructuring process. The portfolio is consisting of shipping loans.
“The recently published article…suggesting that 35 vessels from the Norddeutsche Reederei H. Schuldt fleet are currently subject to a bidding process is incorrect,” the company told World Maritime News.
“Norddeutsche Reederei H. Schuldt, a company with 150 years of tradition in the shipping industry is undergoing a strategic overhaul in order to secure its future.”
However, it appears the shipowner is on the lookout for investors and fresh capital.
The German shipowner signed a restructured financing agreement in 2016 as it was unable to pay back its shipping loans secured by HSH Nordbank.
As explained, the restructuring deal aims, with the support of Boston Consulting Group and in coordination with hsh portfoliomanagement AöR, “to create a partnership, which will take advantage of opportunities to grow its ship management and related activities, further much-needed consolidation and strengthen Hamburg’s position as a centre of shipping competence.”
These measures should also realize synergies in ship operation both to the advantage of cost structures.
“The ultimate goal is to secure the employment of a loyal and efficient workforce and to fully reimburse HSH shipping loans which have suffered during the many years of the shipping crisis,” the company added.
In 2016, HSH Nordbank wrote down around EUR 547 million (USD 587 million) debt owed by the company as a means of keeping the business alive without forcing the company to sell its ships.
World Maritime News Staff