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Mercator to quit dry bulk shipping, looks to sell ailing Singapore arm

Mercator to quit dry bulk shipping, looks to sell ailing Singapore arm
Indian shipowner Mercator Ltd is quitting dry bulk and planning to try and sell its stake in its ailing Singapore-listed subsidiary.

Statement from Mercator said that a board meeting today said that it had decided to exit the dry bulk business carried out by its subsidiary Mercator Lines (Singapore) Ltd (MLS). The sole placement agent has been appointed to find a buyer/investor for its stake in MLS.

The loss Singapore company has been under pressure from its creditors, including HSH Nordbank which been attempting to have the company placed under judicial management. Attempts by MLS to agree a financial restructuring have been unsuccessful.

Mercator said MLS made a net loss of $126m in 2015, and has debts of $164m.

“Its operations are currently consolidated in the accounts of Mercator India and adversely affecting its consolidated performance,” Mercator said. It noted that the Baltic Dry Index was at an all time low 373 points on 15 January and was “not showing signs of early revival in future”.

Mercator said its other business such as tankers and dredging were performing satisfactorily.