By | 2020 Newsletter week 10 | No Comments

Congratulations to Jan Philip Eckmann and his team who published an impressive new issue of RoPax magazine.

Not only do we have the pleasure to share this terrific magazine with our readers, Jan Philip Eckmann will also be one of the moderators at the Ferry Shipping Summit in Amsterdam.

Click on the cover to get free access to ROPAX.

No State Aids for CIN but Moby Now Has to Pay 115 Million for Tirrenia

By | 2020 Newsletter week 10 | No Comments

A statement from Brussels informed that “the European Commission has concluded that the public service compensation granted since 2009 to Tirrenia di Navigazione and later to its acquirer Compagnia Italiana di Navigazione (CIN) for the operation of ferry services in Italy is in line with EU State aid rules”.

The Commission also concluded that “the public service compensation granted between 1992 and 2008 to companies of the former Tirrenia Group (the regional lines Adriatica, Caremar, Saremar, Siremar and Toremar) is in line with EU State aid rules, with the exception of aid for one specific route, which is incompatible”.

For this reason it found that there were “other measures in favour of Tirrenia incompatible with EU State aid rules” therefore Italy will have recover now €15 million of illegal aid but from Tirrenia in Amministrazione Straordinaria which is already in liquidation.


“The Commission has concluded that there is no economic continuity between Tirrenia and its acquirer CIN” and so the “recovery of the incompatible aid will be limited to Tirrenia (so from the State itself).

The decision coming from Bruxelles seems to be good news for the 100% Moby-controlled CIN but in real it makes undelayable for the group lead by Vincenzo Onorato to pay the remaining price of Tirrenia purchased in 2012. Apart from the € 200 million settled immediately, the first and the second deferred payments expired in 2017 (€ 55 million) and in 2019 (€ 60 million) were not paid waiting for the European Commission’s decision on the State aids case. A third € 65 million installment will expire in April 2021.

Moby, while announcing “its satisfaction regarding the positive outcome of the recent decision of the European Commission that the subsidy received by CIN in the 2012 Coastal Agreement and the tender procedure for the sale of the business unit of Tirrenia to CIN, also said: “Regarding the deferred payment with Tirrenia in Amministrazione Straordianria, Moby reaffirmed that, based on preliminary discussions already started, the group is fully available to find a solution in line with the ongoing restructuring plan”.

Standstill Agreement between Moby and Creditors Expired: What Now?

By | 2020 Newsletter week 10 | No Comments

The standstill agreement (with a with a group of bondholders under the €300 million bond due 2023 issued by Onorato Armatori Spa) announced one month ago by Moby, expired on 28 February.

The Milan-based ferry company also said to be engaged in discussions with the banks (Unicredit, Intesa Sanpaolo, Ubi, Banco Bpm and Mps) under the €260 million loan regarding a potential restructuring transaction.

On 2 March, a statement from the ferry company informed that

“Moby and its shareholders have received a proposal from the Ad Hoc Group of bondholders that

  1. is incompatible with the applicable laws of the underlying finance documents,
  2. incompatible with existing operational contracts, and
  3. excessively penalising creditors outside the Ad Hoc Group.”

“The desire of the Onorato Group and the shareholders of Moby is to satisfy all of the outstanding creditors and not to prioritise one subset of creditors. The Company is working with its advisers to find legal solutions that protect the interests of all stakeholders”.

Last week, an invitation was formally sent by the Company to all members of the Ad Hoc Group requesting further negotiations with their advisers regarding a potential restructuring solution.

“The Onorato family, always respectful of the needs of its creditors as well as the implementation of its business plan, has repeatedly reiterated the full availability of the Onorato Group and its shareholders and the firm desire to progress the restructuring negotiations,” the statement further explained.

“The group is committed to an open dialogue regarding the future governance (including the creation of nomination and remuneration committee) of the company with the aim of creating added value for all stakeholders and creating a platform for future growth. The company believes the elements for this restructuring are possible.”

Moby also highlighted that “The value of the group’s fleet, based on the latest Unitramp appraisal and valuation, exceeds € 1 billion. If these valuations are confirmed by the broker to be appointed, the restructuring plan can be implemented based solely on the rescheduling of the current debt profile.”

The big question now is: will the banks and the bond holders be patient with Moby or opt for a more aggressive approach as was the file for bankrupt proposed last autumn?

State Aid: Commission Launches In-Depth Investigation into Public Service Delegation Contracts for Maritime Services to Corsica

By | 2020 Newsletter week 10 | No Comments

The European Commission has launched an in-depth investigation to determine whether the public service delegation contracts for maritime services to Corsica awarded in June 2019 are in line with EU State aid rules.

Maritime services between Corsica and mainland France run between three mainland ports (Marseille, Toulon and Nice) and five ports in Corsica (Ajaccio, Bastia, Porto-Vecchio, Propriano and Ile Rousse). The French authorities awarded Corsica Linea three public service delegation contracts for the routes between Marseille and Ajaccio, Bastia and Ile Rousse, for the period from 1 October 2019 to 31 December 2020.

The Commission takes the preliminary view that these three contracts constitute State aid since, at this stage, they do not meet any of the cumulative criteria for excluding State aid set by the European Court of Justice in its judgment in the Altmark case.

Furthermore, the Commission has not yet ruled out that the public service compensation received by Corsica Linea may give it an undue advantage over its competitors, in breach of the EU rules on services of general economic interest (SGEI).

The Commission has doubts, in particular, with regard to:

  • whether the scope of the three contracts awarded meets a genuine public service need. In particular, the Commission doubts the necessity of including passenger transport in the public service contracts, given the presence on the market of a significant source of commercial supply from the neighbouring port of Toulon.
  • the obligations in the public service contract that do not appear to be necessary or proportionate to the provision of public maritime services: (i) the requirement for a specific type of fleet to be used on certain routes; (ii) the automatic exclusion of Toulon and Nice as possible mainland home ports for public service.
  • whether the compensation parameters could lead to the over-compensation of Corsica Linea as a result of a misallocation of costs between the company’s public service and commercial activities.
  • whether the award procedure for the three contracts complied with EU rules on public procurement, since France was able to apply selection criteria and technical specifications differently for the various tenderers.

The Commission now intends to investigate whether or not its initial concerns are justified. The launch of an in-depth investigation gives France and all interested parties the opportunity to put forward their comments on the measures in question.

Reaction from Pierre Mattei, CEO Corsica Ferries:

By | 2020 Newsletter week 10 | No Comments

“It makes sense that the European Commission checks the amount of subsidies granted by the Collectivity of Corsica, so that they can ensure fair competition, and to verify that these subsidies actually improve public services. It already considered them unwarranted a few years ago and the settlement of the conviction is still ongoing.

The purpose of this investigation by the European Commission is to re-determine the reality of the need for public services estimated by the Corsican Transport Office with regard to the assessment of the private offer (enough or not enough capacity).

We had raised these points repeatedly with the Collectivity of Corsica who never wanted to hear our arguments.”


By | 2020 Newsletter week 10 | No Comments

Heidi Wolden Becomes New CEO of Norled

The board of Norled has appointed Heidi Wolden (50) as the new CEO of Norled (as from 1 May)

Norled is one of Norway’s largest ferry companies. With more than 1,000 employees, the company operates over 80 vessels.

Heidi Wolden was CEO of the construction and housing group Kruse Smith, a position she has held since June 2017. Before that, Wolden had more than 20 years of experience in Equinor.

The move comes after the company was sold last summer from DSD (det Stavangerske Dampskibsselskab) to the Nordic infrastructure fund CapMan Infra and the Canadian company CBRE Caledon Capital Management. Norled’s former CEO Ingvald Løyning is also CEO of DSD, and until recently he held both positions in parallel.

CapMan is an investment and asset management company that seeks active value creation in the portfolio companies as well as real estate and infrastructure investments. In 2019, CapMan had over € 3 billion under management.

CBRE Caledon Capital Management Inc., is a provider of infrastructure and private equity solutions and represents over $ 9 billion on behalf of institutional investors globally.

Corsica Ferries versus Collectivity of Corsica: No Money Yet

By | 2020 Newsletter week 10 | No Comments

In 2017, the Administrative Court of Bastia condemned the Collectivity of Corsica to pay €84.3 million to Corsica Ferries. It is a compensation for the so-called “complementary service”. This was an illegal financial system which was given to SNCM, as compensation for the extra passengers in high season, on top of the DSP contract.

Corsica Ferries’ request to enforce this 2017 judgment was rejected on Monday 2 March 2020 by the Marseille Administrative Court of Appeal.

Compensation will eventually be paid by the Collectivity of Corsica to Corsica Ferries, but apparently the judge decided there was no rush.

Sources: Le Marin, Corse-Matin

Brittany Ferries Started Service from Rosslare to Bilbao

By | 2020 Newsletter week 10 | No Comments

As planned, ropax KERRY set sail for the first time from Rosslare to Bilbao on 28 February.

There will be 2 weekly roundtrips between Rosslare-Bilbao throughout the year, and an additional crossing between Rosslare-Roscoff during high season.

Rosslare-Bilbao replaces Cork-Santander as key freight route to Europe. The change is in response to demand from Irish and continental hauliers.

Brittany Ferries will still use Cork for its passenger service to Roscoff, France. Cruise-ferry PONT-AVEN will serve this route.

Officially Confirmed: Rauma Marine Constructions and Australian TT-Line Company sign Memorandum of Understanding for Two New Ferries

By | 2020 Newsletter week 10 | No Comments

Last week Ferry Shipping News was just in time to publish the news about the Memorandum of Understanding between Rauma Marine Constructions (RMC) and Australian TT-Line Company. Two ropax ferries are going to be built in Finland instead of Flensburg, Germany.

This has now been confirmed by Flensburger, RMC and TT Line Tasmania.

TT Line’s Chairman Michael Grainger said the decision was mutually agreed by TT-Line and FSG.

Alex Gregg-Smith, Managing Director of FSG said, “This decision has been taken with the mutual consent of all parties concerned and is part of our reorientation of FSG as we focus on building high-quality products on time and on budget.”

The vessels will be built at Rauma shipyard and delivered at the end of 2022 and 2023. The vessels set to operate under the brand Spirit of Tasmania will replace the existing vessels, SPIRIT OF TASMANIA I and SPIRIT OF TASMANIA II (ex. SUPERFAST III and SUPERFAST IV), built in Finland in 1998.

The new ferries will accommodate 1,800 passengers and will have an approximate gross tonnage of 48,000. The ferries are set to operate in challenging conditions on the Melbourne, Australia – Devonport, Tasmania route.