Italian ropax group Moby has ended legal action against a group of funds it accused of attempting an "unlawful" takeover.

The Vincenzo Onorato-controlled shipowner said the case filed last month in New York state court had prompted "productive discussions" with the asset management companies and other creditors over a "long-sought" restructuring agreement.

Moby was seeking to obtain compensation for hundreds of millions of dollars in losses it claims to have suffered, as well as punitive damages.

The defendants, referred to by Moby as the "ad hoc group", in the aborted legal action included Sound Point Capital Management in the US, as well as UK-based Aptior Capital, BlueBay Asset Management and Cheyne Capital Management.

BlueBay and Sound Point declined to comment. Aptior and Cheyne did not respond to TradeWinds' requests for comment.

The lawsuit claimed that over a period of 20 months, the funds had engaged in a campaign aimed at "unlawfully assuming control" of Moby.

Moby said the creditors had filed a "baseless" petition seeking Moby's involuntary bankruptcy, which the bankruptcy court of Milan rejected.

DFDS deal scuppered?

The defendants were also blamed for preventing Moby from completing a deal with a "leading Danish shipping company" that would have netted €75m ($89m) and allowed substantial debt reduction.

This is believed to refer to a sale of two ferries, the 1,880-gt Moby Wonder (built 2001) and 2,080-passenger Moby Aki (built 2005), to DFDS.

In 2019, the group of funds, together with certain other investors, bought €125.43m-worth of bonds for €37.6m, Moby said.

The bonds were guaranteed by €900m-worth of assets belonging to Moby and Compagnia Italiana di Navigazione, Moby's main subsidiary.

Restructuring roadblock?

"The defendants continue to prevent Moby's restructuring, including by repeatedly rejecting proposals that have offered up to a fivefold return on the ad hoc group's original investment," Moby said.

Last summer, Moby was forced to make its own court filing for creditor protection in Milan.

The shipowner said last year the filing would allow negotiations with creditors to continue with the aim of reaching a restructuring agreement.

Moby's distress came to a head earlier in 2020 when the shipping company defaulted on a bond payment.

In February that year, Moby breached a grace period suspending payments on interest and amortisation on its €300m ($320m) senior notes and senior secured bank debt.

That led to its bonds being suspended from trading on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange.

Five generations of shipping involvement

Before the pandemic, the fleet was valued at €1bn.

The company was founded in 1982 by Vincenzo Onorato, whose family has played a leading role in the Italian shipping industry for five generations.

The group said last summer that the worst of the pandemic crisis may be over and said it was seeking to "seize opportunities for growth".

Onorato posted on Facebook at the time that he had resorted to court action in order to prevent further attacks from financial speculators on his company.

Moby carries 8m passengers and around 600,000 trucks every year, employing 5,800 people.