Former head of the bankrupt US shipowner thinks the takeover of its Athens-based shipmanagement division is a ‘brilliant move on Scorpio’s part’
Scorpio Tankers’ acquisition of the Athens-based shipmanagement arm of Overseas Shipholding Group (OSG) is drawing praise from the NewYork-based owner’s former chief executive.
“I think it’s a brilliant move on Scorpio’s part,” said Morten Arntzen, who resigned from OSG’s helm in February 2013.
“The Greek office did a great job managing OSG’s vessels, and not just on spot fixtures. They also handled vessels on time charter — that experience could work well for Scorpio if it does carry through on any intentions to launch an MLP [master limited partnership].”
Arntzen also said he “couldn’t be more delighted” to learn that some jobs were saved on the Greece staff when he was informed of the sale by TradeWinds.
As TradeWinds reported last week, the private Scorpio group acquired OSG’s shipmanagement division in a key step to handle the massive fleet growth coming to its two public companies.
Scorpio is taking on OSG Ship Management and rebranding it as Optimum Ship Services.
Optimum is expected to take in its first Scorpio products tanker later this month and, gradually, it will become a management home not only for part of Scorpio Tankers’ huge orderbook but also for vessels delivered to sister company Scorpio Bulkers.
Scorpio Tankers has 55 tankers on order and the bulker outfit has 78 newbuildings, according to online platform VesselsValue.com.
Scorpio’s opportunistic grab also preserves jobs that would otherwise have been cut in Athens, as OSG abandoned the office in favour of third-party shipmanagement within its Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganisation.
TradeWinds understands the office will be staffed by more than 20 at the outset, with a view that this could grow with time. It is still well short of the office’s highest staffing level of around 85 at OSG’s peak.
OSG filed for bankruptcy in November 2012 after disclosing a large back-tax obligation with US authorities that effectively foreclosed its attempts to bridge the gap between an older $1.5bn credit facility and a new loan worth only $900m.
Scorpio has confirmed that it is considering the possibility of an MLP — a public limited partnership built on high dividend yields — for its tanker operation.
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