Zeamarine in serious trouble, calls in restructuring specialist

Zeamarine has gotten into severe financial problems and is rumoured to be losing millions. The company has hired a restructuring specialist to replace co-founder and managing partner Hendrik Jan Többe as chair of the board. 

Majority shareholder Kurt Zech has appointed restructuring specialist Sven Lundehn from Alldatax as chair of the board, report Deutsche Verkehrs Zeitung and other German newspapers.

Alldatax is a Bremen-based fiscal consultancy office which specialises in crisis management and insolvency procedures. Earlier this decade, the company was contracted for the insolvency process of Beluga Shipping in which Lundehn was directly involved.

PCJ has contacted both Zeamarine and Alldatax. Both parties declined to comment on the matter, although a spokesperson of Zeamarine said the company would issue a statement soon. At this point, it is not clear whether Lundehn has been appointed to turn things around or to guide Zeamarine through an insolvency process.

Several German media report that co-founder Hendrik Jan Többe has left the company. His former partner and co-founder Ove Meyer already left the company in July this year. Both their names have been removed from the company’s website. Reportedly, Zeamarine’s CCO Dominik Stehle has also left the shipping company.

Backed by entrepreneur Kurt Zech, Zeamarine was initially founded as Zeaborn by Többe and Meyer in 2013. The shipping company rapidly grew its fleet buying distressed second-hand tonnage including the fleet of Rickmers-Linie. The name Zeamarine followed after Zeaborn merged with Intermarine in September 2018. In April 2019, however, Zeaborn acquired full control of the business, buying Intermarine’s remaining shares.

The rapid expansion coupled with higher charter rates and disappointing freight rates is rumoured to be the cause of the problems.

Zeamarine currently operates a fleet of 68 multipurpose and heavy-lift vessels, according to the company’s website. In Dynamar’s multipurpose vessel operator top-10, the Bremen-based shipping company is ranked as the fourth largest MPV-operator in the world.

Correction: A previous version of this article stated Zeaborn had acquired the fleet of ‘now bankrupt Rickmer-Linie’. This statement was incorrect. Rickmers-Linie was sold to Zeaborn following financial problems at the holding company, Rickmers Holding. It was this entity that went bankrupt and that was after the sale of Rickmers-Linie. Zeaborn had renamed Rickmers-Linie to Rickmers Line until the merger with Intermarine, after which both companies were continued under the name Zeamarine. 

Author: Tobias Pieffers

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