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A fourth attempt by Israeli shipping line Zim for an initial public offering (IPO) could be on the cards now new chief executive Eli Glickman has taken the helm, according to Alphaliner.

Attempts to list the company failed in 2008, 2011 and 2016, due to “weak market conditions and a poor earnings track record”. But the line remains sorely in need of new cash, says new research by the liner analyst.

Zim’s major shareholder is a consortium of banks, bondholders and shipowners, with Greek shipowner Danoas a leading member. In 2014 the group had to accept a debt-to-equity restructuring plan that saw around $1.4bn of Zim’s then $3.4bn debt and liabilities converted approximately into a 68% stake.

The remaining 32% went to former owner Israel Corporation after investing $200m of new equity a $50m receivables financing facility. Israel Corporation spun part of itself off in a Nasdaq listing under Kenon Shareholdings.

However, the multi-year crisis in which container shipping has found itself has not helped the carrier, Alphaliner said.

“Zim has so far failed to meet the EBIT earnings targets laid out in its business plan that was formulated in 2014, in each of the last three years since its financial restructuring.”

According to the 2014 plan, it was due to deliver an EBIT of $112m in 2014, $158m in 2015, $165m in 2016 and $183m this year. However, it recorded a $12m EBIT loss in 2014, a profit of $112m in 2015 and a $53.8m loss in 2016.

Alphaliner said today: “While Zim’s main shareholders are reported to be open to a sale, the IPO option remains their most realistic exit route, as previous attempts to sell the company have failed to materialise.”

However, recent analysis by The Loadstar’s financial analyst, Alessandro Pasetti, suggests that, with “equity today, based on my calculations, worth very close to zero, [and a] book value at the end of 2016 negative to the tune of $100m – neither number bodes particularly well for a sale or float”.


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