Gosh: $4.6m hit for POSH

Singapore-based offshore vessel operator PACC Offshore Services Holdings (POSH) has revealed a potential $4.6m impact on first quarter results from its embroilment in a Mexican fraud investigation.

The charter-hire hit may result occur as  the Mexican State Administrator has received a court order from state-owned oil group Pemex to stop paying charter hire to POSH’s  joint venture Servicios Maritimos Gosh and instead direct them to the administrator.

Gosh had chartered six vessels to Oceanogafia (OSA), which in turn chartered them to Pemex with hire payments made into a trust for Gosh.

But OSA was placed under state administration in February while the government investigated fraud allegations into bills charged to Pemex by OSA.

Gosh has now filed an injunction in the Mexicans courts to nullify the Pemex order and maintain payment of the charter hire to it.  A hearing will be held on 28 May

OSA’s alleged fraud caught up with it in February when an audit of contracts signed between 2011 and 2012 resulted in a 21-month exclusion from Pemex tenders due to non-compliance with tender rules.

Soon afterwards Citigroup made provisions for at least $400m in fraudulently obtained loans granted to OSA by its Mexican subsidiary, Banamex. OSA had borrowed from Banamex using expected payments from Pemex as collateral.

The FBI and the US Securities & Exchange Commission are also investigating the transactions, according to Reuters.

Last year OSA took advantage of investor appetite for Mexican debt last year when it sold about $160m to raise funds to buy vessels before the regulation changes affecting the Mexican oil sector. It used the Caballo Marango offshore support vessel and the heavy-lift OSA Goliath as security.

OSA has a fleet of 69 offshore vessels, with 39 contracts for offshore supplies and services, some of which have been rescinded.