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RBD Armatori: Lack of finance stymies owner’s ability to seize opportunities

Naples: Opportunities often emerge for canny shipowners in times of crisis but with a lack of financial support it’s hard to snatch them. That’s exactly the feeling expressed by Giuseppe Mauro Rizzo, ceo of Rizzo Bottiglieri De Carlini Armatori (better known as RBD Armatori), an Italian shipping company founded in 1850 in Torre del Greco (Naples) controlling a fleet of 17 ships made up of six aframax tankers (including 4 LR2) and 11 bulk carriers (four capesizes, four post-panamaxes and three panamaxes).

In order to protect its US-based assets from creditors while it restructures at home, last April the company obtained Chapter 15 protection from bankruptcy judge David Jones of the Federal Court in Houston.

Looking at the present shipping market trends, Rizzo can see a structural crisis.

“I’m wondering,” says, “what will be the future of family-business companies in a fast changing framework where financial systems and traditional lending entities are not working as they should.”

The Naples-based shipowner underlines that there are many interesting opportunities on the market at the moment, but it’s hard to find bank support and financial resources to take them.

Commenting on the business segments RBD Armatori is involved in, Rizzo is quite cautious on the dry bulk market, while he seems to be more optimistic on the future of liquid bulk.

“In the short term I can’t see any strong signs of recovery for bulk carriers; maybe some improvements might occur by the end of the present year but in the past all the market forecasts have been contradicted so it’s really hard to say what will happen,” he says. Tonnage oversupply is the main culprit for bulk carriers, Rizzo reckons.

“The tanker market is working well,” the CEO says in a more upbeat tone, “as we are experiencing two-year time charter rates at more than $20,000 a day for aframax-class vessels from first-class charterers and oil majors. Thus my sentiment is quite optimistic even because, watching at the liquid newbuildings orderbook, there is almost a lack of deliveries in the next two years and it will help shipping market fundamentals improve for tankers”.


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