Kerr-Dineen returns to Baltic board

The prospect of change at the Baltic Exchange has received a boost after shareholders backed its former chairman Peter Kerr-Dineen’s bid for re-election to the board.
Peter Kerr-Dineen at the TradeWinds Shipowners Forum in 2011.

Peter Kerr-Dineen at the TradeWinds Shipowners Forum in 2011.

The Howe Robinson chairman emerged  the clear  winner of an election for one of two vacated seats after campaigning on a platform which was highly critical of the Baltex electronic trading screen.

Kerr-Dineen – who was the Baltic’s chairman from 2003 to 2005 -- won  more than 44.4% of the issued vote, or  255,737 votes, beating Clarkson freight derivatives broker Bettina Goodall into second place with 198,125 (34.4%).

London-based shipbroker John Marcos Hadjipateras was unelected with 121255 or 21% of the issued vote.

Speaking after today’s Baltic’s annual general meeting, Kerr-Dineen said he had been asked by other shareholders to return to the Baltic for what he described as “substantive reasons.”

“I am not doing it for any other agenda  --  I wish I didn’t have to do it,” he said. “But I’ve been under pressure from a lot of shareholders to stand to achieve the aims and objectives that I set out in my letters to them."

Kerr-Dineen referred to his pre-election address to shareholders where he had called for Baltex to be shut if the losses cannot be stopped, citing its accumulated losses rapidly approaching £3 million ($5.1m).

Since then, the Baltic has unveiled plans to form a  partnership with  global clearing house LCH.Clearnet which it hopes will generate enough in the way of  commissions to enable the Baltex to  break even.

The deal with LCH is awaiting approval from the prudential regulator – the Bank of England – a procedure which is likely to take a few more months, although Kerr-Dineen does not expect the issue of the Baltex to drag on.

“I actually think that the issues facing the board in relating to Baltex will be resolved very quickly one way or the other,” he said.

Kerr-Dineen hinted that the focus of his attention would be on the production of the Baltic indices, having campaigned for the Baltic to engage in an “open, creative and self-critical” approach with the market and panelists.

“The issues that the Baltic has to get to grips with in ensuring its indices and its index products remain relevant are of much greater significance in the changing environment,” he said.

“That is where I expect to see the board focusing its attention in the immediate future."