09 July 2009

Hanjin delays order for 8 ships to save $1.3-B deal

An order for eight super post-panamax boxships was delayed by South Korean shipbuilding conglomerate Hanjin Heavy Industries and Constructions (HHIC) here inside this premier Freeport, as the company tries to save a mega-deal worth $1.3 billion from being cancelled.

Around eight 12,800 TEU (20-foot equivalent unit) ships were ordered in 2007 by Hamburg-based NSC Schiffahrtsgesellschaft and KG financier Lloyd Fonds at the Hanjin shipbuilding facility in Redondo Peninsula here in Subic.

The order was scheduled for completion between 2010 to 2011, but Hanjin’s publicly announced on its website that the ships would be completed between 2010 to 2014.

But according to a news report, the decision by Hanjin to postpone the delivery of the vessels was done without any knowledge from NSC and Lloyd Fonds.

According to Lloyd Fonds’ CEO Torsten Teichert, “The delay has not been arranged by a joint agreement with Hanjin. We informed Hanjin that there is no financing in place of four of the ships and that these vessels have no charter contracts.”

Hanjin Heavy Industries disclosed in a statement that it was in talks that changed contract terms, including rescheduled delivery positions, for several projects.

Until now, they have not made any public statements of any agreements between the two companies.

Hanjin also confirmed that Belgian shipping company Delphis has asked the company to replace the order of some four 3,400 TEU vessels into three cape-size bulkers.

NSC and Lloyd Fonds have already sold two of the vessels on order to French line CMA CGM, planned for delivery in May and September 2010, but they are now likely to be postponed for a year. The carrier also chartered two vessels for 12 years at a daily rate of about $59,000.

The remaining four ships that do not have any charter contracts were scheduled for delivery between May and December 2011, but the shipbuilding company has announced the completion date of the four remaining vessels between 2012 and 2014.

The state of the four vessels are in currently in limbo as to whether or not they will be built, as the probability of cancellation looms the four vessels due to the contract terms.

Hanjin agreed on a very low first installment of some $5 million per vessel, with every order made by one-ship companies wherein Lloyd Fonds and NSC are shareholders.

One-ship companies would not be able to pay the subsequent installments by themselves as no bank financing is involved. No further guarantees were given by Lloyd Fonds and NSC, meaning that they would each suffer a maximum loss of $2.5 million per vessel if the order would be cancelled.

Shipbuilding companies would usually insist on an initial installment to cover 20% of the purchase price plus a bank guarantee to cover an additional 20% when doing business with one-ship companies.

Shipping experts were skeptical whether Hanjin’s move would save the order, adding that the ships will actually be constructed but not as planned. (Jonas Reyes, Manila Bulletin)