Vroon's lenders take majority shareholding

4C Offshore | Tom Russell
By: 10/01/2022 Vroon
Vroon has announced that it has reached an agreement with lenders on debt restructuring following years of discussions regarding its over-indebtedness. In return for a debt write-off, the company lenders will become the majority shareholders of Vroon.

Vroon revealed that a headline agreement with lenders was reached in November 2021. According to the vessel operator this, together with book profits realised from vessel disposals during 2021, will lead to a strengthening of the company’s balance sheet and allow for continuity of the company going forward. This agreement is still subject to formal approvals and is expected to be implemented in the first half of 2022.

The company recently completed the audit on the Vroon Group 2020 results and has now published its 2020 Annual Report. Vroon outlined that its Vroon Offshore Services (VOS) business segment was negatively impacted during 2020 by a downturn in Oil & Gas markets, largely the consequence of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Vroon’s other businesses were also negatively affected by the pandemic, but to lesser extents.

Net revenues in 2020 amounted to USD 356m, EBITDA from operating activities was USD 74m and net result was USD -314m, mainly the result of a USD 214m non-cash asset impairment. Continued losses and asset impairments over the previous five years resulted in a negative group equity per year-end 2020.

Vroon reported that, during 2021, market conditions improved gradually for most of its businesses, although the impact of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic was reflected in crew costs and other voyage-related expenses. Its Offshore Division saw oil prices recover from very low levels in 2020 and our Deepsea Division benefitted from increasing trade flows and regional tonnage shortages.

As part of its agreements with its lenders, Vroon was to dispose of non-strategic businesses in order to repay debt, and decided to divest its container, dry-bulk, crew-transfer vessels and car carriers. During the year, Vroon disposed of 18 vessels and has largely completed its fleet-disposal process.