Oceanteam strikes deal with bondholders

Dutch offshore owner avoids potential liquidation as it extends debt and cuts interest rate.

Dutch offshore shipping player Oceanteam has reached an agreement with bondholders to avert potential liquidation in tough markets.

The deal is the result of talks with investors and banks that began in October last year.

It has arranged a timetable to repay the $92.5m bond in full, extend maturity in the meantime and reduce cash interest costs.

The owner also revealed the new terms will not include any share offering by its current shareholders.

The debt was sold in 2012 and was due to expire this year.

Further details will be released as soon as possible, the shipowner said.

A summons to a bondholders’ meeting issued by Nordic Trustee in November revealed that the maturity was to be extended to October 2022 and the interest rate cut to 1%, from Libor plus 11.25%.

But the gathering was cancelled and a new summons was due to be prepared.

Oslo-listed Oceanteam said at that time the restructuring plan was the best chance of avoiding bankruptcy. It had warned there was a “distinct risk” the company could file for liquidation if the plan was rejected.

More time needed

"We expect to need another few weeks to finalise our talks with the bondholders,” said CEO Wilhelm Bohn.

“This is good news for our employees, suppliers, clients, creditors and for our business partners. A final agreement will be the most critical milestone to create a strengthened financial foundation and to align Oceanteam with today's market dynamics."

Another part of the plan is that a “significant cash compensation” due to, among others, CEO Haico Halbesma, also a main shareholder, will be deferred.

In addition, proceeds from the sale of the 11,300-dwt support ship North Ocean 105 (built 2012) will be used to repay debts.

"The progress and developments made so far and the continued support provided by the Halbesma family as main shareholders, confirms the commitment and strong belief that we have in the future success of Oceanteam,” said CEO Halbesma.

“The understanding reached with the bondholders is a key step forward. It will allow the company to further develop its current market activities, to take advantage of new business opportunities, and thus to allow us to build long-term value for the benefit of all Oceanteam's stakeholders and employees.”

The company has eight construction and service vessels.

It returned to the black in the third quarter, posting net profit of $2.5m, reversing a loss of $8.8m in the corresponding quarter of 2015.