A new management team has been put in place to chart a fresh course for Singapore-based tanker shipowner Xihe Group, which is currently working with its ship financing banks on a consensual restructuring of the group
As part of the ongoing restructuring of the Singaporean oil trader Hin Leong Trading (HLT) a new management team has been put in place at Xihe Group. According to a press statement from Xihe Group, the company has “hired a highly qualified management team with close to 100 years of collective shore and sea-based experience to drive its corporate finance, marketing, chartering, sale of vessels and fleet management.”
The statement also reports that “Mr Lim Oon Kuin and his children are no longer part of the management team.” The new management team consists of interim chief executive officer Kenny Lim, commercial director Desmond Chong, sales & purchase director Michael Tan and vice president (fleet management) Capt Zhang Yujie.
The aim is to distance Xihe Group from the founder and family of HLT, Mr Lim Oon Kuin (also known as OK Lim). HLT is currently undergoing restructuring following the discovery of US$800M in unreported losses.
Several bareboat charter contracts which Xihe had entered into with Ocean Tankers Pte (OPTL) and Hin Leong Trading Pte Ltd (HLTPL) have been terminated. Xihe Group stated that it is actively working with the interim judicial managers of OPTL and HLTPL to seek redelivery of those vessels, most of which have yet to be redelivered.
Xihe Group stated that it is seeking to conduct an orderly divestment and rightsizing of its near 140-vessel fleet to achieve optimum returns to all stakeholders, has concluded the sale of several of its vessels and is in discussions with potential buyers on a programme of sales.
As part of Xihe Group’s revamped business model, the group has identified strategic partners to form alliances with. It has engaged and will be engaging professional technical and commercial managers to manage and market its vessels for charter.
Xihe took redelivery of 108,953-dwt Aframax tanker Ocean Queen from HLTPL (bareboat charterer) and OTPL (ship manager). The vessel is now under the technical management of a newly appointed shipmanager.
According to Reuters, HLT owes Oversea Chinese Banking Corp (OCBC) US$250M. OCBC applied to the Singapore High Court to appoint judicial managers over Xihe, which was rejected by interim chief executive officer Kenny Lim. OCBC wished to freeze certain OK Lim family assets in Xihe Group. The case has been adjourned until 13 August 2020 to allow banks time to work on the financial restructuring with Xihe Group.
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