A soured decade-old sale-and-leaseback deal may have caused the recent management reshuffle of Taiwanese liner operator Yang Ming Marine Transport.
The reshuffle affected the company’s President and General Manager, Vincent Lin, Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer Dannis Lee.
A terse statement to the Taiwan Stock Exchange stated that Yang Ming’s management had decided that the roles of Lin and Lee would be adjusted.
However, Container News understands that Yang Ming’s board of directors wanted Lin and Lee to be responsible for the disappointing outcome of the sale and leaseback of two 2008-built 8,200 TEU ships, YM Uberty and YM Utopia.
In mid-2009, YM Uberty is said to have been sold to a special purpose vehicle controlled by Bank of America, while YM Utopia was reportedly sold to SinoPac Leasing, part of Taiwanese financial services group SinoPac Holdings.
Yang Ming had agreed to buy back the vessels at half the price, based on what the assets were worth back then.
However, in December 2019, Yang Ming announced that it booked a one-off TW$1.39 billion (US$45 million) loss as it had decided against exercising the purchase options.
Yang Ming said that the repurchase price is far higher than the current market values of the ships.
According to VesselsValue.com, the YM Utopia and YM Utopia were each valued at slightly over US$200 million at the time they were sold in June 2008, but their current market value is now around US$28 million each.
Shortly after being redelivered, YM Utopia was sold for US$29 million to Danaos Corporation, and the ship has been renamed Niledutch Lion after being chartered to Nile Dutch Line.
When Container News asked about the reasons for the management reshuffle, a spokesperson for Yang Ming declined comment, saying that the company does not discuss reasons for staff movements.