Rickmers has not given up hope of survival. The famous German line, which filed for insolvency on Friday after key bondholder HSH Nordbank failed to back its restructuring plan, has put together a top team to try to forge a way out of the financial mess it finds itself in.
“The aim of the executive board is to work out a new restructuring solution together with the creditors and making use of the tools of insolvency law. Banks, bondholders and the workforce will be represented on a temporary committee of creditors,” the company said in a release.
Rickmers applied for a restructuring in self-administration, an option under the German insolvency code, on the basis of continuation of business and vessel operations.
The supervisory board has appointed the restructuring expert Dr Christoph Morgen as a member of the executive board and chief insolvency officer.
Rickmers’ insolvency has been the largest shipping casualty since South Korea’s Hanjin folded.
Chaired by Bertram Rickmers, the group currently own 33 live container vessels, with four more on order, as well as four dry bulkers and two vehicle carriers. The group is also a large vessel charterer, with a total combined chartered and owned fleet comprising of 114 vessels.
Speaking with the Wall Steet Journal, Basil Karatzas, chief executive of New York-based Karatzas Marine Advisors and a columnist for Splash described Rickmers as “maritime royalty”.
“Seeing them file for bankruptcy is like seeing a king get deposed,” Karatzas said.