Temasek unit finalises $450m cash injection into PIL

Singapore Inc is close to sealing a deal to save the republic’s largest containerline.

Multiple sources in the Southeast Asian nation tell Splash that Heliconia Capital Management, part of the sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings, is finalising a deal to come in with up to $450m to help Pacific International Lines (PIL) pay charter fees and belated bunker bills.

Under intense financial pressure for the past couple of years, PIL revealed last month that Heliconia was looking at making a major investment into the containerline.

PIL’s troubles have been well documented in recent months. The world’s tenth largest containerline with 350,000 slots in its dwindling fleet, PIL has been busy offloading assets all year.

PIL ships have been detained and late charter and bunker payments have made the headlines regularly. The privately held Singapore liner quit the transpacific tradelane in March, having exited the Asia-Europe trades in April last year. It has also sold its stake in Pacific Direct Line (PDL), which operates in the South Pacific as well as selling many of its largest ships in February and March.

Singamas, the box manufacturing company also controlled by the Teo family, reported in March that PIL owes it $147.7m, the majority of which was overdue. In related news, Singamas, which has been selling many of its factories over the last year, has just announced the sale of an out-of-use Tianjin facility for $18.6m.

Temasek has already come to the rescue of PIL on at leat one occasion. Last year, Alphaliner revealed that in 2018 PIL received previously unreported loans from Temasek Holdings-linked SeaTown Holdings.

Heliconia’s chairman is Lim How Teck, who worked with Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) from 1979 to 2005.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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