Swiss based MSC shipping and cruise group, led by Italian-Swiss shipowner Gianluigi Aponte comes to the rescue of the Moby group, owned by shipowner Vincenzo Onorato, and takes committement to subscribe a capital increase for a minority of the group to enable it to pay the amount owed by Moby and its subsidiary CIN to Tirrenia in extraordinary administration, the bad company born from the sale of the former eponymous public shipping company to Moby in 2012. This was announced on Thursday 25 March by the Moby group itself (see the press release here), without saying how much the recapitalization will amount to, but according to what MF Milano Finanza reports, it is about 80 million euros for a 25% stake in the group.
The announcement comes a few days before March 31, the date on which the Bankruptcy Court of Milan set the deadline for the filing of the agreement with Tirrenia, which represents the main creditor of CIN, whose consent to the restructuring plan is still lacking (see the press release here). The Court had set that date last Feb 15th at the same time as it decided to postpone the meeting of the creditors of Moby and CIN, respectively, to next 20th and 27th June. The Court’s decisions had come as a consequence of the filing last January of the umpteenth new version of the composition plans of the two companies (see here a previous article by BeBeez) as it had been anticipated last November 2021 by the judicial commissioners of Moby and Cin (Maurizio Orlando and Tiziana Gibillini for the first, Marco Russo and Giorgio Zanetti for the second). It was precisely the communication sent by the commissioners to the Court saying the companies wanted to make significant changes to the respective composition plans that had in fact induced the Milanese court to postpone to April the meetings of the creditors initially scheduled for last December (see here a previous article by BeBeez). From April then the dates have been further postponed to June.
We recall that the composition plans provides for recovery percentages for creditors significantly higher than the previous plans filed in March 2021 and have already obtained the approval of the main financial creditors of the group and in particular of all the banks and bondholders gathered in the Ad Hoc Group (see the press release here). We also recall that at the end of September Moby had signed an agreement with one third of the bondholders in possession of the 300 million euros bond with a 7.75% coupon maturing on 2023 listed on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange (see here a previous article by BeBeez), including the Soundpoint Capital, Cheyenne Capital, BlueBay, Aptior Capital and York Capital funds. The objective of the agreement was obviously to find an agreement on debt restructuring, before the creditors’ meeting for the vote on the composition plan. We recall that the Court of Milan had admitted Moby to the arrangement with creditors at the beginning of July (see a previous article by BeBeez and here the admission decree).
As mentioned, however, the green light from Tirrenia is still to be obtained, With Tirrenia in extraordinary administration, Moby still has to settle the issue of residual debt for the acquisition of 60% of Tirrenia-CIN which in 2012 was not yet owned by Moby and which Moby still owes to Tirrenia. The latter was valued at 376.9 million euros of which 135 million had been paid at the closing of the transaction in July 2012 and another 62 million paid in February 2016 on the occasion of the refinancing of the debt (see here a previous article by BeBeez). The remaining 180 millions had to be paid in three installments: the first 55 millions installment was to be paid in April 2016, the second from 60 millions by April 2019 and the third from 65 millions in April 2021. But all three installments have not yet been paid.
As already leaked last November (see here a previous article by BeBeez), the new version of CIN’s composition plan provides for a percentage of creditors’ satisfaction of 80%, with Tirrenia in extraordinary administration which would receive 144 million euros (in four installments, of of which 23 millions to the approval of the arrangement in 2022, 10 millions in 2023, 10 millions in 2024 and 101 millions in 2025) of the total of 180 millions due. In reality, given that an arbitration recognized the credit claimed by Tirrenia from CIN at 159 million euros, the reimbursement percentage would reach over 90%. In any case, the basis of the increased repayment capacity would be the sale of 4 ships during the procedure, but above all the transfer of all the remaining ones of the Moby and CIN fleet to a newly established vehicle company, the so-called ShipCo, whose shareholdings they will be held only by mortgage creditors, ie credit institutions and bondholders. The new ShipCo will be structured as a closed-end investment fund and will be managed by an asset management company.
The offer, however, had not yet convinced the commissioners. But now, with MSC entering the game, things should change. “The entry of a global market leader such as Msc into the capital of Moby is excellent news for our country, for Italian shipping and for the company’s workers”, commented the vice president of Confcommercio Fabrizio Palenzona (see here the press release).