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Rickmers Group files insolvency following bank move

HAMBURG: June 01, 2017. The Rickmers Group has declared insolvency following the rejection by HSH Nordbank of a proposed financial restructuring.

Last month the ship management company said it had reached an "understanding" with the Hamburg-based bank and others on a term sheet regarding the restructuring of its liabilities, and particularly a five-year bond maturing in 2018.

In a statement Rickmers Group said it had "accomplished all agreed and required steps to prepare the restructuring" that included a positive prognosis, reaching commercial agreement with all other financing banks, and obtaining positive binding tax rulings.

Rickmers GroupRickmers said HSH Nordbank has now "highly surprisingly informed" the company it has rejected all credit applications, denied approval of the term sheet, and refused any further negotiations.

As a result the Rickmers supervisory and management boards have concluded the company is no longer "a going concern" and would file for bankruptcy "without undue delay" while continuing vessel operations in the hope of a successful restructuring.

In February this year multipurpose shipping line Zeaborn Group acquired the operating businesses of Rickmers-Linie and MCC Marine Consulting & Contracting from Rickmers Holding in a "single-digit million-euro range" deal.

The sale involved the business and shipping line operation of Rickmers-Linie and the bunker purchasing and chartering business of MCC Marine Consulting & Contracting.

Zeaborn also acquired the rights to use the 'Rickmers-Linie' and 'Rickmers-Line' brand names in relation to the combined breakbulk, heavy lift and project cargo business of both companies.

HSH Nordbank is the result of the merger in 2003 between Hamburgische Landesbank and Landesbank Schleswig-Holstein. Shareholders are the City of Hamburg, an institution representing German Federal states, the state of Schleswig-Holstein, and a Schleswig-Holstein savings bank.

As of March 2017, the bank reported assets of €84 billion, a 2016 pretax income of €121 million and a net profit of €69 million.

A statement on the HSH Nordbank web site declares: "Traditionally, international ship finance is one of our core areas of business. We understand the shipping business with all its facets and are a reliable partner throughout all phases of the financing process. You benefit from our years of experience in the shipping industry and flexibility in exploring new and innovative options. We work to find the best financing solution for you."

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