Oil Tanker Shipowner Xihe Group Charts New Course for its Fleet and Future

A new management team has been put in place to chart a fresh course for Singapore-based tanker shipowner Xihe Group of Companies (“Xihe”) which owns almost 140 vessels covering every segment of the fuel transportation market. Xihe is currently working with its ship financing banks (“Lenders”) on a consensual restructuring of the Group.

Xihe has recently hired a highly qualified management team with close to 100 years of collective shore and sea-based experience to drive its corporate finance, marketing, chartering, sale of vessels and fleet management. The key personnel include:

• Interim CEO Mr. Kenny Lim
• Commercial Director Mr. Desmond Chong
• Sales & Purchase Director Mr. Michael Tan
• Vice President (Fleet Management) Capt. Zhang Yujie
Mr. Lim Oon Kuin and his children are no longer part of the management team. A new board of directors – consisting of a majority of non-executive independent directors – is also being finalised as part of the consensual restructuring with Xihe’s Lenders.

Xihe’s Future – A Revamped Business Model
The new team has made significant strides in managing Xihe’s businesses in a short span of two months, despite disruptions brought about by Ocean Tankers Pte Ltd (“OTPL”) – its main bareboat charterer – being placed under interim judicial management (“IJM”) in May 2020, amongst other things.
With the assistance and guidance of its legal and financial advisors, the team is taking steps towards achieving consensual restructuring and revamping of the Xihe Group of companies.

Firstly, a number of bareboat charter contracts which Xihe had entered into with OTPL and Hin Leong Trading Pte Ltd (“HLTPL”) have been terminated. Xihe is actively working with the interim judicial managers of OPTL and HLTPL to seek redelivery of those vessels, a majority of which have yet to be redelivered. There is a market for chartering out these vessels and Xihe is actively pursuing opportunities to re-deploy them.

Secondly, Xihe is seeking to conduct an orderly divestment and rightsizing of its fleet to achieve optimum returns to all stakeholders. It has concluded the sale of several of its vessels and is in discussions with a number of potential buyers on a programme of sales.

Thirdly, as part of Xihe’s revamped business model, the Group has identified strategic partners to form alliances with. It has engaged, and will be engaging professional, internationally renowned technical and commercial managers to manage and market its vessels for charter, to ensure that the highest standards of safety, quality and efficiency are attained.

Just this week, Xihe successfully took redelivery of its 108,953 DWT oil tanker “Ocean Queen” (IMO 9368223) from HLTPL (bareboat charterer) and OTPL (ship manager). The vessel is now under the technical management of a newly appointed world-class ship manager.

Xihe has been updating its lenders regularly on its strategic plans and the direction it has charted. It is confident of getting its business back on track and with full commitment to bring about the best outcome for all its stakeholders, partners and clients.
Source: Xihe Group

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