Beluga Shipping will undertake a "comprehensive" financial restructuring, the Germany heavy-lift and project cargo carrier announced March 3.
The Bremen-based group also said its founder and chief executive Neils Stolberg requested a leave of absence, and Chief Restructuring Officer Roger Lliffe has taken over the position of Interim CEO.
Lliffe will run the company jointly with Michael Maynard as Interim Finance Director.
"This restructuring will ensure that Beluga has the capital and cost structure to compete more effectively in the international shipping market and to continue providing industry leadership in terms of customer and value added engineering services," Beluga said in a statement.
The privately-held company, which operates around 70 vessels, said it will "continue to operate normally with full scale operations" during the restructuring.
The announcement follows intense speculation over the future of one of the world's biggest heavy-lift operators following reports that Oaktree Capital of the U.S. was attempting to wrest control of the company.
Los Angeles-based Oaktree, which invested around $280 million in Beluga in equity and loans in July 2010, is said to have secured approval from the German cartel office on Monday to take a majority stake in Beluga.
Beluga said Oaktree, which manages $82 billion of assets, is its largest secured lender.
"Oaktree has extensive experience in restructurings in Europe and in the global shipping industry and will devote significant resources to stabilize and strengthen the group," Beluga said.
As part of the proposed financial restructuring, Beluga, together with Oaktree, is seeking the support of other key creditors and stakeholders in the restructuring.
Beluga said other management changes and appointments are likely to be announced in due course.
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