One year after KKR Capital’s turnaround fund Pillarstone Italy took control of Italian owner Premuda, the Genoa-based shipping firm is back in the market with positive results and very much in buying mood.
Pillarstone’s partner Gaudenzio Bonaldo Gregori tells Maritime CEO: “The company is now in good health since the 2017 financial results are solid and in the black, in line with our restructuring plan. Ebitda has also improved significantly and the company is now looking at potential takeover of fleets to be achieved directly or to be somehow integrated. We think there could be interesting opportunities on the local market in Italy, and also abroad, to replicate the same operation made with Premuda, thus helping a company to complete a financial restructuring and possibly looking at a broader industrial plan in shipping”.
Gregori’s comments neatly chime with another Splash story carried today linking Premuda with a bid for the RBD Armatori fleet.
This potential step would perfectly fit with the original plan for Premuda announced two years ago and aimed at building up a shipping platform for distressed assets where putting together ships of the same size and type.
“Not just a vehicle with different kind of ships” Bonaldo Gregori states, “but a group focused in two specific segments of dry and liquid bulk business. We are very clear in our minds what are the synergies and the size of vessels to be focused on, in order to obtain added value and higher returns”.
As of today Premuda is active in the liquid bulk market with MR and LR tankers, while the dry bulk fleet is made up mainly of handysize bulk carriers.
In 2017 Pillarstone invested some €50m in the Genoa-based company’s turnover and the timetable for the deal would foresee an exit in five years but the manager pointed out that the company is happy to wait 10 years if necessary for the turnaround cycle to be completed or the maximum value to be reached.
To make Premuda profitable again in just one year time was quite an easy task for Pillarstone since the KKR Capital fund bought the company debt-free in March 2017 and help came from the dry bulk market upturn seen in the recent past, but the new shareholder also asked the top management (still headed by Stefano Rosina in the role of CEO) to implement a reorganisation plan. All the commercial and technical management has been taken back to headquarters in Italy and the dry bulk chartering desk in the UK has closed down. As for the business segments covered, Premuda is now focused only in some specific size of the dry and liquid bulk shipping; the diversification in the offshore business was closed and the old FPSO in its fleet was let go. The only two ships still managed in the UK are the long range tankers jointly controlled with Messina group and owned trough Four Jolly Ltd.