Dry-bulk shipper Global Maritime Investments Cyprus has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to liquidate its business, citing a dramatic downturn in charter hire rates for its vessels.
Charter rates hit record highs in 2007 and 2008 but according to court papers Global Maritime filed on Tuesday, they have in recent years “plummeted to decade-low levels as a result of an excess supply of ships.” Global Maritime lost $47.8 million in 2014 and about $67.6 million in fiscal 2015.
“Under the pressure of extremely low charter rates, [Global Maritime has] faced difficulty in servicing their debt and funding operating expenses,” Justin Knowles, an adviser to the company, said in an affidavit.
Global Maritime has estimated debt of $169 million, most of it unsecured, court papers say.
The company charters ships from owners under a variety of long-term charter agreements. Those ships are then sub-chartered out to customers. Global Maritime now has 15 vessels in its fleet, compared to more than 60 in 2011 and 2012.
The bankruptcy papers indicate Global Maritime has been unable to navigate a number of financial challenges, notably the “extraordinary downturn” in the shipping industry “due in large part to charter and spot rates that declined with the start of the global economic crisis, increased competition and a substantial debt burden.”
The dry bulk shipping market is not expected to recover until 2017, due to contracting demand for iron ore and coal, according to shipping consultancy Drewry.
Knowles said Global Maritime had engaged in discussions with its principal creditors to reach an out-of-court restructuring but ultimately determined that “a structured wind-down in a formal insolvency proceeding would be necessary.”
Global Maritime said a proposed debtor-in-possession financing agreement with its principal lender would provide it with sufficient liquidity to enact an “orderly wind-down.”
The company and its investors previously agreed to restructure its debt in June 2013 and November 2014.
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