Libra Group makes $2 billion exit from container shipping

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Libra Group exited the container shipping market this week after selling close to 100 vessels for more than $2 billion over several years to focus on innovation and sustainability as new drivers of growth, the company’s executive chairman said.

The container market hit rock bottom nearly a decade ago before rebounding to record highs during the COVID pandemic as demand for consumer goods, which are carried by container ships, surged.

George Logothetis, executive chairman of privately owned U.S.-headquartered Libra Group, said they had taken the “biggest bet in shipping history” by buying scores of ships between 2010 to 2020.

It was a very difficult time, many difficult years,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of the Posidonia shipping week in Athens.

We took the decision that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get excellent prices for all the container ships that were sold.”

The vessels, operated by subsidiary Lomar Shipping, were sold between 2020 and early June 2024, Logothetis said, leaving the group with around 30 ships including dry bulk and tanker vessels.

Lomar’s exit from the container sector was part of a decade-long strategic asset play,” said Lomar Shipping CEO Nicholas Georgiou.

He said Lomar had laid the foundation for the exit from the container shipping business over the past three years investing in bulk carriers and tankers.

Lomar has always been able to switch sectors with ease. Our strategy is, and has always been, the diversification of our business, a value shared by all Libra Group companies,” Georgiou told Reuters separately.

Libra, which is controlled by the Logothetis family, has 20 subsidiaries with assets and operations in nearly 60 countries and is active in maritime, aerospace, renewable energy, real estate, hospitality, and diversified industries.

Logothetis said Libra had “a very heavy focus on sustainability and innovation”. Last year Lomar launched its innovation arm, lomarlabs, to explore new adaptive maritime technologies such as carbon capture devices, robotics, and removable wind sails.

Source: Reuters