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Bulk Invest files for bankruptcy

Oslo-listed Bulk Invest, formerly known as Western Bulk, has filed a petition for bankruptcy after negotiations failed with its creditors.

On Tuesday, Bulk Invest said a new financial agreement must be struck with its creditors “within a few weeks” if it is to survive. The company said its future was “highly dependent” on negotiating lower charter rates and sealing a deal with creditors – who have largely staged a revolt.

“Seven ship owners represented by one trading house have filed an injunction to reverse the company’s sale of Western Bulk Chartering [WBC]. The same ship owners have also firmly rejected the restructuring efforts of the company,” Bulk Invest said in a filing today.

“Regrettably, the board of directors of the company has therefore come to the conclusion, after several extensions and attempts of dialogue, that there is no longer a basis for the company to proceed with its restructuring efforts, and consequently, that there is no longer a basis for continued operations.”

Last week, some of the company’s main creditors requested a legal injunction, requiring a reversal of the sale of Bulk Invest’s chartering unit WBC to Kistefos. Six unnamed Japanese shipowners have also said the acquisition should be reversed because WBC was undervalued and its sale robbed Bulk Invest of much-needed liquidity.

Kistefos is a private investment firm led by Christen Sveaas, who is chairman of Oslo-listed Bulk Invest. The firm acquired WBC in early February for an enterprise value of $47m, comprised of $16m in cash and the acquisition of an unsecured bond worth NOK 271m ($31m).

Bulk Invest said its subsidiary Bulk Shipowning IV has also decided file for bankruptcy, “whereas the respective boards of the company’s remaining subsidiaries have decided to continue their restructuring efforts for the time being”.

Trading in Bulk Invest’s shares was suspended on the Oslo Børs this morning “in anticipation of an announcement from the company” and Bulk Invest will request that further trading is stopped.


Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.
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