Unicredit counterattacked Moby
The bank also pointed out the inconsistency between the value of the fleet resulting from the appraisal and the purchase price of the two modern ferries
Following the termination of the agreement related to the Moby-DFDS swap of ferries, the shipowner Vincenzo Onorato initiated a proceeding against Unicredit, holding it responsible for not having released the mortgages encumbering the ships on time. Now the bank made a few points clear.
In a letter sent to the top management of the shipping company, the bank “immediately and strongly” objected to Moby’s “serious and groundless” charges. In its capacity as security agent of both the financing institutions and bondholders, the institution announced a possible legal proceeding, pointing out that it is “carrying out an in-depth analysis concerning the assessment of the damage caused, as well as concerning the identification of the suitable direct actions to protect the reputation” of the bank, of its officers and of the “interests of its shareholders”.
In its letter to Moby, Unicredit repeated that “no reasonable accusation can be made” against the bank, thus objecting to “any claim for compensation”. “As concerns this – the institute added – we do not understand on what grounds you can regard us as responsible for the damages arising from your possible defaults towards DFDS. In fact, you agreed about terms and condition autonomously, without taking into consideration the timing for the necessary investigation for the release of the guarantees. Moreover, said investigation had to be carried out while creditors were focusing on the situation of the group”.
The bank also pointed out that, in its capacity as Security Agent, “it immediately started the necessary investigation to make this complex assessment, consulting also lender banks”, and that on October the 17th bondholders ordered it “not to release the mortgages on the units Moby Wonder and Moby Aki”.
“The investigation continued unceasingly, also with the help of the respective legal advisors who met also on October the 25th to confirm, integrate and share the information – already required on October the 18th – and the necessary documents to allow for the assessment”, Unicredit’s letter continued. Finally, “on October the 27th, the company provided the bank with a list of clarifications that it was ready to give, specifying the necessary timings to give them. Unfortunately, the decision of the Danish shipowner DFDS was taken and revealed – as the notice confirms – on the following day. We understand your disappointment and share your grief”.
In its capacity as security agent in Moby’s procedure, Uncredit declared that “it was unable to examine the requests” to release the mortgage on the ships to be sold to the Danish company DFDS. The bank also referred to the decree of the Court of Milan, establishing that the company belonging to the Onorato family is undergoing an “obvious crisis”. The institute believes that it had to “ask for clarifications to Moby’s corporate bodies about the economic and financial situation of the company, about its intention to implement the measures required by the court, asking confirmation also to third party experts about the fairness of the sale price of the ships object of the requests (of release from mortgage, ed.) and of the vessels” to be purchased with the revenues from their sale.
Therefore, also the assessments of the ships carried out by the Naples-based ship brokerage company Unitramp are under investigation because, according to Unicredit, clarifications were “necessary, since the sale price for the ships amounted to 137 million euro, while their value according to the plan of 2018 (…) amounted to 190 million”. Moreover, “according to Brax’s recent appraisal, their value amounted to 157 million, while there was no independent appraisal about the ships to be purchased, nor any estimate of possible costs/investments related to said vessels”.
According to the bank, it “clearly” needed to “have said information and to evaluate them carefully, to provide them to its principals and to take a responsible and informed decision in compliance with the basic diligence obligations provided for the execution of its mandate”.