Varun’s Khatau plots comeback

Bust shipowners rarely go under for long. In India, one of the country’s most high profile casualties of the shipping downturn, Yudhishthir Khatau, is rumoured to be plotting a comeback.

Khatau has made a public announcement stating his intention to list shipmanagement and investment vehicle, Varun Global, one of the two entities demerged from the erstwhile Varun Shipping.

Varun Resources, the other demerged entity, was recently declared bust, and six of its LPG carriers were auctioned to ship recycler NKD Maritime, having been detained for many months. Proceeds from the ships’ sales went on paying overdue wages to crew as well as to shipmanagers.

Varun used to be India’s largest LPG carrier operator and Khatau was a rising star on the international shipping scene, even heading up international shipowning association BIMCO, before tough times hit the company this decade.

The Varun Global listing faces some hurdles, with a local insurance firm filing a lawsuit to get the company to pay back a large amount of money owed. Banks and shipmanagers are also queuing up to get monies owed from the Khatau company. Moreover, Varun Global’s holding company, Varun Corporation, was liquidated a month ago.

Nevertheless, Khatau is being tipped to try and use the listing to reenter the shipowning business. He has yet to reply to questions sent by Splash earlier today.

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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