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Buamim takes the helm at GulfNav to lead restructuring and expansion

Buamim takes the helm at GulfNav to lead restructuring and expansion
Dubai shipping lynchpin Khamis Buamim has taken up a new challenge: group ceo at Gulf Navigation (GulfNav) to restructure and expand the business of the listed-tanker owner, which bounced back in 2015.

Parag Jain will retain his position as ceo. Buamim’s remit will be to increase GulfNav’s assets under management and service-based revenue. “Buamim will restructure the company and lead its expansion plans to achieve new levels of growth and development,” it said.

Buamim refused to discuss growth projections, or if GulfNav would get back into VLCC ownership, but said it would not refinance debt, instead servicing it from existing company resources. “We will not refinance. We are creating a different funding structure within the group itself,” he said.

GulfNav’s fleet today consists of eight chemical tankers and four crew boats. “Historically, the lucrative chemical shipping services have provided remarkable returns for the firm,” GulfNav said.

Two GulfNav VLCCs were arrested in 2013 after the company defaulted on debt repayments and were later sold. Norway's DNB Bank won an appeal in the DIFC Courts in March over its financing of VLCC Gulf Eyadah and hopes to see its judgement enforced in Dubai's onshore courts.

Hazza Al Qahtani, GulfNav's Saudi founder and chairman, resigned from the board in January, prompting the departure of five other board members, all of whom are now said to have been replaced. New board chairman is Abdullah Al Hemeiri, appointed 20 March.

GulfNav’s IPO took place in 2006 and it was listed on the Dubai Financial Market the following year.

Its 2015 annual report said accumulated losses under equity had fallen slightly to AED242.3m ($66m) as the chemical tanker market improved. The balance sheet lists liabilities of AED685m ($187m).

Gulf Stolt Ship Management, formerly a 50-50 jv of GulfNav and Stolt-Nielsen, which performs the commercial management of the GulfNav fleet, was taken over 100% by GulfNav, the company announced in a DFM regulatory filing Monday.

Last year, GulfNav issued Mandatory Convertible Bonds (MCBs) valued at AED37m ($10.2m) to settle its case with creditor Bermuda’s Nordic American Tankers Limited. Jain refused to comment on the likely issuance of new MCBs.

Buamim was previously executive chairman of Drydocks World and Maritime World from 2010-15 and successfully led it through restructuring after the global financial crisis.

He also served with Conoco and ConocoPhillips for 26 years in various management positions, including vp, Dubai Petroleum Company, a ConocoPhillips UAE affiliate.