GLOBAL SHIP LEASE, INC. filed this 20-F/A on 12/09/2009
This is the part about conflict of interest.
CMA CGM is Global Ship Lease’s initial sole Charterer and its wholly owned subsidiary, CMA Ships, is Global Ship Lease’s initial Ship Manager. CMA CGM’s ability to continue to pay charterhire and CMA Ships’ ability to render ship management services will depend in part on their own financial strength. CMA CGM has guaranteed the performance of CMA Ships under the ship management agreements. As described above, the container shipping sector is suffering a severe cyclical downturn and has been incurring substantial losses. Furthermore, many containership operators, including CMA CGM, have commitments to purchase newbuildings for delivery over the next three to four years which may not be fully funded with committed financing.
Circumstances beyond their control could impair CMA CGM’s and CMA Ships’ financial strength, and because they are privately held companies, information about their financial strength is not publicly available. As a result, Global Ship Lease and an investor in its securities might have little advance warning of financial or other problems affecting CMA CGM or their wholly owned subsidiaries even though their financial or other problems could have a material adverse effect on Global Ship Lease.
CMA CGM and Global Ship Lease’s Ship Manager have conflicts of interest with Global Ship Lease and limited contractual duties, which may make them favor their own interests to Global Ship Lease’s detriment.
Conflicts of interest may arise between Global Ship Lease, on the one hand, and CMA CGM, Global Ship Lease’s initial Charterer, and CMA Ships, its Ship Manager, on the other hand. As a result of these conflicts, Global Ship Lease’s Ship Manager may favor its own or its parent company’s interests over Global Ship Lease’s interests. These conflicts may have unfavorable consequences for Global Ship Lease. For example, Global Ship Lease’s Ship Manager could be encouraged to incur unnecessary costs, for which it would seek reimbursement from Global Ship Lease. Although Global Ship Lease’s ship management agreements expressly prohibit its Ship Manager from giving preferential treatment when performing any of its ship management services to any other vessel that is affiliated with it, or otherwise controlled by CMA CGM, conflicts of interest may arise between Global Ship Lease, and its Ship Manager and its initial Charterer.
Global Ship Lease’s financial reporting is dependent on CMA CGM.
Under the ship management agreement with CMA Ships, the Ship Manager is obligated to provide Global Ship Lease with requisite financial information on a timely basis so that Global Ship Lease can meet its own reporting obligations under U.S. securities laws. CMA Ships and its parent company CMA CGM are privately held French corporations with financial reporting schedules different from Global Ship Lease. If CMA Ships or any of its affiliates is delayed in providing Global Ship Lease with key financial information, Global Ship Lease could fail to meet its financial reporting deadlines.
CMA CGM could compete with Global Ship Lease.
Along with many other vessel-owning companies, CMA CGM, currently Global Ship Lease’s sole Charterer and largest holder of its common shares, could compete with Global Ship Lease in its search to purchase newbuildings and secondhand vessels. Further, CMA CGM is not precluded from acting as an owner in the direct chartering market. While Global Ship Lease understands that CMA CGM currently has no intention of doing so, competition from CMA CGM may potentially harm Global Ship Lease’s ability to grow the business and may decrease its results of operations.
Certain terms in Global Ship Lease’s agreements with CMA CGM and its affiliates may be the result of negotiations that were not conducted at arms-length and may not reflect market standard terms. In addition, they may include terms that may not be obtained from future negotiations with unaffiliated third parties.
The asset purchase agreement, the charters, the ship management agreements and the other contractual agreements Global Ship Lease entered into with CMA CGM and its wholly owned subsidiaries were made in the context of an affiliated relationship and were negotiated in the overall context of the previously contemplated public offering of its Class A common shares in 2007, the Merger in August 2008 and other related transactions. Global Ship Lease’s agreements with CMA CGM may include terms that could not have been obtained from arms-length negotiations with unaffiliated third parties for similar services and assets. As a result, its future operating results may be negatively affected if Global Ship Lease does not receive terms as favorable in future negotiations with unaffiliated third parties or has to enter into lengthy and costly negotiations with third parties in connection with entering into such agreements.
Global Ship Lease’s growth depends on its ability to purchase further vessels, obtain new charters and maintain and potentially expand its relationship with CMA CGM. Global Ship Lease will require additional financing to be able to grow and will face substantial competition.
One of Global Ship Lease’s objectives is to grow by acquiring additional vessels and chartering them out to container shipping companies including potentially CMA CGM. This will be particularly challenging since Global Ship Lease will need to obtain additional financing in order to acquire vessels. Due to the global banking crisis and the severe cyclical downturn in the containership
So, if you are investing in Global Ship Lease stock (which I am not), please keep this in mind.