Vroon Completes Restructuring With Sale of 40 Offshore Vessels

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Published Sep 28, 2023 7:50 PM by The Maritime Executive

Offshore vessel operator Vroon has completed a plan to restructure its fleet by divesting a total of about 40 vessels to multiple operators around the world. 

Vroon has sold 30 offshore vessels to Britoil Offshore in Singapore, along with its offices in Singapore and Genoa. Norway's GEOS purchased five more, and Dutch shipping company Groen decided to buy two. 

The vessel sale proceeds will be used to reduce the company's debt, supporting its financial restructuring process and a shift in its market focus. Going forward, Vroon plans to focus on its deep-sea fleet, including product tankers, ERRVs and livestock carriers. This combined fleet will number about 65 vessels, and the firm will retain a staff of 1,400 employees. 

For most of the firm's offshore-sector personnel, the sale process comes with continuity of employment. Most of the regional supporting offices were included in the sale and will continue to employ most of the workforce, in line with the value Vroon placed on finding a good solution for its employees. Only the supporting office in Den Helder will have to be closed.

"Together with the new owners, we will take care of a smooth and seamless handover of our vessels, crews and supporting offices to ensure continuity for our customers. These transactions mark the final conclusion of an intensive process and the beginning of a new chapter for Vroon," said CEO Martijn Schouten. 

The announcement has been a long time coming. An ill-timed investment in offshore vessels in the early 2010s left the firm poorly prepared for the 2014 oil market collapse, and Vroon was left with a burdensome $1 billion in debt in a down market. From 2016 onwards, it was heavily in the red. In late 2021, the owners decided to hand a majority stake to the firm's bankers in exchange for debt relief. The agreement reduced Vroon's debt load to just $400 million; in exchange, a consortium of 18 banks became the firm's majority shareholders.