‘Investors lose millions on ship companies’

Tens of thousands of Dutch private investors who bought stakes in cargo ships face calls to invest millions of extra euros to keep their investment afloat, the Volkskrant reports on Wednesday.

Some 40,000 people have put around €1bn into investing in 130 different shipping cvs since the middle of the 1990s, lured by generous tax breaks.
Putting money into a shipping cv (scheepvaart-cv) means the investor becomes joint owner of a major cargo ship, which usually has to be built first.
But falling cargo rates, which are down by as much as 90% over the past year, mean many cvs are in trouble, the paper says.
The Volkskrant bases its claims on statements from four of the Netherlands’ biggest providers of shipping cvs – JR Shipping, Vereenigde Compagnie, Hanzevast Shipping and Universal Marine.
‘We need €8.2m to keep the banks off our back,’ Sander Schakelaar, director of JR Shipping, told the paper. ‘Many of our ships are now working well below cost price. That is giving us liquidity problems.’
Investment lawyer Dion Bartels told the paper investors should be extremely cautious. ‘Our practice is readying itself for a bloodbath in the shipping cv sector. There is a big risk that investors will lose their money,’ he was quoted as saying.

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