How will MSC Group rescue Moby and Tirrenia?

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Following the breaking news announcement that MSC Group will enter the capital of Moby through a capital increase aimed at paying Tirrenia in Amministrazione Straordinaria (Tirrenia AS = bad company controlled by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development) to allow the immediate reorganization of the Moby group, some more details on the deal are emerging.

The news site Reorg Research revealed that the Geneva-based shipping group MSC will invest about EUR 80 million for a minority stake (25%) in the Italian ferry group and this money will be partly used to repay creditor Tirrenia AS, “which is going to be paid straight after the concordato homologation, and not in four years as previously envisaged.”

“Tirrenia AS will recover about 45%,” sources report.

The 45% recovery will consist of “a EUR 23 million first instalment after the concordato homologation, which will come from the EUR 63 million new money investment made by Moby’s secured creditors, while the rest will be provided via MSC’s money. The remaining cash out of MSC’s EUR 80 million investment will stay on the company’s balance sheet.”

All the ships in fleet will be transferred to a new vehicle company, named ShipCo.

Some ships are destined to be subsequently reassigned to Cin and Moby while others will be progressively sold. Everything that this ShipCo will generate from the rentals and sales of the assets will be used to partially repay the credits with banks and bondholders. Onorato Armatori will remain 75% of a company that owns the routes, the brands and the port terminals but which will be emptied of its fleet.

A green light to the ‘rescue plan’ is still needed from Tirrenia AS and from the Court of Milan.

Addendum 30 March: An agreement in the terms of the debt restructuring has just been reached between Moby and Tirrenia in Amministrazione Straordinaria

P&O Ferries: new powers to protect maritime workers

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In a speech to the House of Commons, Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps announced several measures, including ensuring that all UK ferry operators pay the national minimum wage and that ferries are fit for purpose.

“P&O Ferries’ failure to see reason, to recognise the public anger and to do the right thing by their staff has left the government with no choice,” the Minister said.

He announced a package of 9 measures:

  1. HM Revenue and Customs to check that all UK ferry operators are compliant with the National Minimum Wage where they should be.
  2. Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) to review their enforcement policies.
  3. Prevent employers, who have not made reasonable efforts to reach agreement through consultation, from using fire and rehire tactics.
  4. CEO of P&O Ferries should resign.
  5. Pursuing worldwide agreements at the International Labour Organisation.
  6. From next week, the reforms to Tonnage Taxcome into effect, making it easier for maritime businesses to set up in the UK.
  7. Engage with international partners to discuss how maritime workers on direct routes between the countries and the UK should receive a minimum wage.
  8. Intention to give British ports new statutory powers to refuse access to regular ferry services which do not pay their crew the National Minimum Wage.
  9. “I will be writing to all ports in the UK explaining our intention to bring legislation as quickly as possible. But, in the meantime, instructing them not to wait. I want to see British ports refusing access to ferry companies which don’t pay a fair wage as soon as practical.”

Baleària reaffirms its leadership position and local company status as the main guarantee of maritime connectivity

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  • For the first time, the EBITDA has topped 100 million euros, thanks to cost containment measures, more efficient management, and the good performance of fuel prices in the first three quarters of the year.
  • The company achieved a social cash flow of 576 million euros, 9% more than the previous year.
  • Passenger traffic grew compared to 2020, mainly on domestic routes, but is still below pre-pandemic figures due to the border closures in North Africa.
  • 2,911,000 people and 765,000 vehicles travelled with Baleària in 2021, 38% and 29% more respectively than in 2020, but well below pre-pandemic traffic levels (-34% and -28% respectively).
  • In 2021, freight transport grew by 15%. Of the 6,584,000 linear metres transported, 24% were on international routes, which recorded the strongest growth (+17% compared to the previous year and +48% compared to 2019), especially the lines serving Morocco, on which only freight transport was permitted.
  • The commitment to being a responsible company, sustainability and digitalisation are the main lines of action.

Baleària’s 2021 results show that the shipping company has been able to overcome a complex situation marked by the pandemic and growing competition. The 103 million euros of EBITDA have enabled the company to offset the 15 million euros of losses from the previous year, repay debt, consolidate its solvency, and continue with the scheduled investment plan.

Levante Ferries purchased Marix Lines’ QUEEN CORAL 8

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Greek Levante Ferries announced the purchase of the Marix Lines’ QUEEN CORAL 8 from Japan. She is the sixth vessel added to its fleet and will be converted into a ropax ferry with a carrying capacity for 1,300 passengers and 430 cars or 80 trucks (12m) [1,000 lane meters].

The ship was built in 1999 (Kanda Shipbuilding) and is currently at the port of Kure. She will be probably renamed CONTESSA DI LEVANTE and serve the Ionian Sea replacing the older KEFALONIA (1975), which will be probably move to another line.

Telenor Maritime connecting people on board 39-hour long journey

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Telenor Maritime has become the first provider to deliver connectivity services for passengers on board La Méridionale. The 5-year contract, signed December 2021, will provide passengers and crew with mobile and wi-fi services during their 39-hour long journey on board GIROLATA and PELAGOS. Both ships are fitted with the Telenor Maritime Connectivity Platform, a solution that combines multiple connectivity sources and distributes the signal to on-board services.

Contract for a new ro-ro ship not awarded to Hijos de Barreras shipyard by RFI

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Rete Ferroviaria Italiana has just made public the decision not to award to the Spanish shipyard Hijos de J. Barreras the order for a new ferry. The reason seems to be that some documents and certifications are missing with the submitted offer.

The new hybrid-powered ferry should be used to transport passengers, railway carriages and wagons, dangerous goods and rail tankers in the Strait of Messina, and railway wagons for the Sicily-Sardinia connection.

Contract price was EUR 74 million and delivery expected in 2024.

A new public tender is likely to be launched in the very near future.