Insights

Heidmar believes that trust and strong relationships come through hard work and transparency.

Pool Party

February 12, 2015

It appears that Heidmar is moving forward with a campaign aimed at penetrating new markets.

At a conference in New York, Chief Executive Ben Ognibene admitted transparency and the performance of his company’s tanker pools are still top priorities but noted diversification is high on the list as well.

“Our focus is on performance, but we’d also like to partner with [both new and existing clients] on time-chartered tonnage,” he said.

In addition, Ognibene indicated Heidmar is on the lookout for opportunities to break into segments like dry-bulk, LPG and US-flag.  To achieve this goal, he said management would like to forge alliances with companies that are already active in these markets and interested in opening pools.

When asked if Heidmar would ever consider a joint venture with cargo owners, Ognibene said anything is possible provided it doesn’t create a conflict of interest.

While the operator has been planning to pursue a number of these initiatives for some time, a source with close ties to the company claims the campaign is starting to gain momentum.

“Heidmar still has a few more hurdles to clear, but now that the tanker market is doing so well they finally have some breathing room to branch out,” he told TradeWinds Wednesday.  “They’ve encountered a number of setbacks in recent years but they are resilient, they survived and it looks like they are about to embark on a very exciting new chapter.”

Heidmar, which is based in Norwalk, Connecticut, is owned by Greek shipping magnate George Economou and an affiliate of Morgan Stanley.

On Wednesday, Ognibene confirmed that the financial services giant still intends to sell its oil merchandising division, which controls a 49% stake, but failed to elaborate further.  It’s unclear how this will impact the pace of Heidmar’s diversification initiative, but many see the sale as an obstacle that must be addressed before the company can truly start anew.

 

By Aaron Kelley in New York

12 February 2015, 02:55 GMT