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$20m payment delayed

$20m payment delayed
Shipping trust Rickmers Maritime has delayed payment deposits totalling $20m on a pair of newbuildings as it struggles to find $711m in finance.

Shipping trust Rickmers Maritime has delayed payment deposits totalling $20m on a pair of newbuildings as it struggles to find $711m in finance.

The $10m deposits are due on each of the two 13,100 teu vessels due to be delivered on July 1 next year for 10-year time charters to Maersk. The two vessels form part of quartet being built by Hyundai Heavy Industries, due for delivery next year, and all on charter to Maersk.

Rickmers Maritime Trust Management chief executive Thomas Preben Hansen said there was no time limit set for the delay, which was agreed with the yard, for the payment of the deposits.

The trust was working with all stakeholders, he added.

?We are looking at all options with banks, charterers and shipyards.?

He said that delaying the delivery of the vessels was ?not an easy task? and that the delivery dates next year still stood.

The latter pair of vessels is due for delivery next year. The trust is yet to finance the $711m newbuildings cost and management was not able to give any guidance on when the issue would be resolved.

Mr Hansen said the trust had appointed financial advisors and banks to assist management with its financial issues.

Singapore-listed Rickmers Maritime was spun off from German owner Rickmers Group to acquire large containerships.

The funding for the four newbuildings is not the only financing issue the trust is facing. It has been in discussion with its banks over covenants on its existing fleet since the first quarter of this year but has yet to reach any resolution on the issue.

Chief financial officer Quah Ban Huat said the reduction in ship values could affect the amount it could draw down on existing loan facilities. The trust said that due to the lack of sale and purchase transactions for boxships, values were hard to assess.

?We are still in discussion with our banks on how to resolve this issue,? he said.

He was unable to say when the issue was likely to be resolved. The trust secured up to $627.5m in loan facilities last year, and also has a $360m term loan maturing in 2017, secured at the time of its initial public offering.

Rickmers Maritime has a further $130m top loan maturing in April next year, for which it still has to find refinancing.

Of its current fleet of 16 ships in service, only the Maersk Djoubti faces early termination of its charter, and could be redelivered in February next year.

The trust has made a further $7.5m impairment provision, on top of an earlier $3.5m provision for possible early redelivery.

Mr Hansen said Maersk had not tendered for the redelivery of the vessel as yet.

The trust has three more 4,250 teu vessels due for delivery through to next year for charter to Hanjin Shipping for seven year periods.

Rickmers Maritime is sticking firm on not reducing charter rates for any of its existing fleet on hire, even though it has had some its ships idle.

?We are not in a position to agree to any charter rate reduction,? Mr Hansen said.

He added that the trust had attempted to help charterers through management help such as the slow steaming of vessels.


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