Multipurpose and heavy-lift (MPV/HL) carrier Zeaborn Group will take full ownership of its Zeamarine joint venture (JV), pending approval by antitrust authorities, under an agreement to acquire the remaining interest in Zeamarine that is now held by New Mountain Capital.
Ove Meyer, managing partner of Zeaborn, will lead Zeamarine as owner’s representative, according to a statement from the carrier. Zeamarine’s management team will include chief commercial officer Dominik Stehle, chief operational officer Nicki Schumacher, and chief financial officer Michael Dumas. Andre Grikitis, longtime CEO of Zeamarine, and formerly Intermarine, will be stepping down. Intermarine was originally founded in 1990 in New Orleans by Roger Kavanaugh. New York-based investment firm New Mountain Capital bought a controlling interest in Intermarine in 2008.
Founded in 2013 by Meyer, Managing Partner Jan-Hendrik Toebbe, and German real estate entrepreneur Kurt Zech, Zeaborn became a major player in the consolidating, primarily northern Europe-based MPV/HL sector through the 2017 acquisitions of Rickmers-Linie, the heavy lift/project cargo unit of the financially troubled Rickmers Group, and of the German ship management company ER Schiffahrt. It also bought MCC Marine and NPC Projects along the way.
Zeamarine’s present fleet consists of about 90 MPV/HL vessels ranging in size from 6,300 to 30,000 deadweight tons, with lift capacities up to 1,400 tons, according to the company.
In a March 2019 report from Netherlands-based shipping consultancy Dynamar, Zeamarine was ranked fourth in the global MPV/HL fleet in terms of deadweight tonnage, with 79 vessels in operation and three newbuildings on order. This varies from the carrier’s statement, but MPV/HL carriers take ships on and off charter constantly.
Dynamar reports that Zeaborn’s tonnage varies in age from one to 20 years, in size from 6,300 deadweight tons to 30,000 deadweight tons, and in lift capacity from 30 to 1,400 metric tons. According to Dynamar, Zeaborn is rumored, but not confirmed, to have another eight multipurpose ships on order from two Chinese shipyards.
Additionally, Zeaborn is “clearly gambling on the growing availability of distress tonnage,” the consulting firm said. Approximately 30 percent of the world’s multipurpose fleet is estimated to be unable to pay its debts, according to Meyer.