Quantum-noun. Required or desired amount. Something that can be counted or measured.

 

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Jean Richards leaves Fairwind for Datatrac
September 09 2004

 

Jean Richards is leaving Fairwind Shipping after almost 20 years with the company best known for the provision of ship recovery services to the banking industry.

Mrs Richards, one of the shipping industry’s larger-than-life characters, has been appointed executive chairman of Datatrac, a fast-growing company providing compliance for the ISPS code, data capture and advanced safety systems for shipping. She has resigned as a director of Fairwind and the company’s parent Denholm Shipping, and takes up her new position on October 1.

Fairwind founder and director Trevor Fairhurst said he was disappointed that Mrs Richards was leaving but understood her decision. Mr Fairhurst described Mrs Richards as a “brilliant package” who was “good at knocking down doors that won’t open.”

Her role at Fairwind will be filled by Anthony Cunningham, who has been acting as her assistant. Mrs Richards was a co-owner of Fairwind before it was sold to Denholm just over two years ago. Working within the larger Denholm organisation, Mrs Richards said, was “slightly different and I felt I wanted to work for myself again”.

Mrs Richards has been a non-executive director of Datatrac for two and a half years and is an investor in the company. She was excited to be leading Datatrac at a time when the company had “products to take to the market” after being in a development phase for its first few years.

Mrs Richards will continue as a director of Cambridge Academy of Transport, and to act as a shipping consultant and expert witness. Mr Fairhurst said he anticipated that “after the due passage of time, we will work together again on shipping projects.”

Written by Tony Gray, Lloyd’s List

Published: 09 September 2004

 

 

 

 

Brains leaves brawn

 

The split-up of a double shipping act brings an era to a close but the main players are far from ready to bow out.
It is sad to see one of shipping's most amusing double acts, Jean Richards and Trevor Fairhurst, finally broken up. For 20 years the two were the driving force at London-based Fairwind Shipping, which was subsumed more recently inside the Denholm Group.

"She was the brains and I was the brawn," reflected Fairhurst jokingly this week although when it came to negotiations, some thought it the other way round.

Now Richards has cleared her desk and is off to become chairman of Datatrac, which provides IT safety systems for vessels. She is also involved in the Cambridge Academy of Transport but none of this is likely to keep her overbusy, so expect her to pop up elsewhere before long.
Written by Terry Macalister's, Wavelength
 September 17 2004

Leading ladies – a galaxy of starts – Part 1

Jean Richards, who graduated with a degree in mathematics, has been in the shipping industry since 1973. From 1984 to 2004, she worked with Fairwind Shipping. That company, of which she was 50% owner, was sold in 2002 to Denholm Shipping. She resigned from the Denholm Group in 2004 to form her own shipping advisory company, Quantum Shipping Services Ltd. Offering commercial advice and expert witness services, she is also Chairman of Datatrac, which provides solutions for data capture within the shipping industry.

Mrs Richards comes from a long line of professional dancers and, naturally enough, takes every opportunity to hit the dancefloor. So, notwithstanding any of the above, she lays claim to the world record for having danced with the greatest number of people in the shipping industry - and admits that being a woman may have helped her in this regard. She has also found that “if you are able to do the job then being a girl helps rather than hinders. A good head for drink is also an advantage.”

Written by Lloyd’s List

Published: 1 September 2005

 

Last year’s high market is this year’s law suit

It seems that boom to bust and thence to litigation is an inevitable sequence. THIS year, legal papers have been arriving on the desk of Quantum Shipping Service Ltd Executive Chairman Jean Richards in what she describes as “a fairly constant stream” dealing with disputes that arose during the high market of 2004.

A significant proportion of these deals are with the alleged non-performance of the charterer. “The process from boom to bust and thence to litigation follows my well-rehearsed message of ‘cash is king’,” says Ms Richards. Liquidity is the key to survival and lack of liquidity will inevitably lead to liquidation. “With liquidation will come the sense of loss, followed by a sense of grievance, which in turn will raise the question of liability — and this could ultimately lead to litigation.”

The volume of legal disputes which end up in front of a judge or an arbitration tribunal proliferates following a high market. Common disputes for loss of hire and non-performance under contracts of affreightment are only usually worth pursuing when the claims go above six figures, she points out. “In a booming market it takes very few days to make a claim worthwhile.” It seems that a charterer will seize any opportunity for non-performance if a cheaper vessel comes into view; an owner will find any excuse to jump off from a low-paying charter in order to find better paid employment on the spot market. A shipyard will find a loophole in a building contract in order not to deliver a low-priced vessel to one owner and instead build against a much higher-priced contract for another owner. “The risk of litigation is not seen as a deterrent but merely a mechanism of cash management. Maximise revenue and minimise losses on a booming market and pay up gracefully if sued two or three years later,” advises Ms Richards.

The significant factor in most of the cases, which have appeared as a direct result of the booming market, involves the alleged non-performance of the charterer, she says. “It should be remembered that the shippers and consignees move cargo as part of a commodity trading business which is itself very competitive. “No charterer can survive for long if his delivered price is too much higher than that of his competitors. Thus, in a falling market, the charterer is the first to face a liquidity crisis.” Even first class charterers find it difficult to perform once the market has collapsed, says Ms Richards.

The biggest and best names will not totally fail their owners but their actions will still be damaging enough. The security taken by most financiers on a high market is a high-paying time charter or contract. In a collapsing market, the high-paying charter will be the first thing to disappear, along with its security status. So, she asks, should the deal-makers have foreseen the non performance of charterers? Possibly. Should the deal-makers have warned the investors? Maybe. Can the deal-makers rely on the good name of the chosen charterer? Probably.

Once the charterer has moved into a non-performance phase, the owner is left in the unenviable position of facing the spot market. Should the deal-makers have foreseen the collapse in the spot market? Certainly. Should the deal-makers have warned the investors? Possibly (read the small print). Can the deal-makers rely on the prospectus which relied on secure income stream from a first class charterer? Probably.

Not only will the freight market collapse but it will inevitably follow that second-hand values, newbuilding prices and scrap prices will also collapse. Should the deal-makers have foreseen the collapse in residual values? Certainly. Should they, again, have warned the investors? Possibly (once again, read the small print). Can the deal-makers rely on the health and safety warnings in the prospectus? Probably. So far, so good; the deal-maker has covered himself in the small print and reliance on the performance of the charterer is everything. The bad part is still to follow, Ms Richards points out.

The ultimate nightmare of Chapter 11 or repossession lies with the banks and unfortunately the equity investor, whether the owner himself or financial partners, always come a poor second. Historically, owners taking on the role of a David against the might of the banks as the Goliath have succeeded in some claims for wrongful dispossession of assets. The successful litigant probably had no valid claim but in most cases the claimant succeeded because the banks do not wish to be seen in public places being sued by their clients. As Ms Richards says: “It is very bad PR.” Future clashes may be clashes of the Titans. A major investor suing a major deal-maker is a much more even fight with no risk of either being viewed as the underdog, unless of course the deal-maker in question is the owner.

The question remains: on what grounds could the equity investor possibly succeed against either the owner and/or the deal maker? Reading the small print concerning breach of fiduciary duty — were the deal-makers acting in an advisory capacity? — will undoubtedly state not. Misinformation for the investor — wrong values, wrong market information — is unlikely to be a runner since the values would have been supported by brokers and the market would have been supported by whatever the charterer was prepared to pay. Was the deal driven by and compromised by the up-front fees? Was the deal fraudulently constructed in regard to the unlikelihood that either capital could be repaid or residual value was substantially overstated? She stresses that the last two areas are those most likely to succeed if the equity partner feels aggrieved enough — as he might.

An arranger who put together a deal at the top of the market, where older tonnage has been purchased at prices which can only be described as ludicrous but who was deemed to have known that the residual value assumptions were always unattainable, might well find a fight on his hands. Far better to be in a position to buy back the asset on the downturn and to recover some value in the next up cycle. It would be better still to sell now, before the market totally collapses to some other unsuspecting equity partner —thus providing deal makers with yet more fees. “I am of the opinion that the deal-makers should be made to carry the can but I doubt investors can succeed in forcing them to do so,” says Ms Richards. “Ironically, far from being made to pay, they will probably earn more fees from providing restructuring services.” It is highly likely that investors do not always realise what they are involved in, she says. The small print is usually everything and, for the unfortunate investor, successful reimbursement through litigation is as much of a gamble as the original investment, she stresses.
Written by Helen Hill

 

Getting out of hot water on a cold night

A COLD winter’s evening was a suitable backdrop for the latest seminar hosted by the London branch of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers.

Entitled ‘Getting out of hot water — how shipbrokers could, and should, avoid trouble’, it dealt with a whole range of potential pitfalls and problems for brokers. The evening, sponsored and hosted by Holman Fenwick & Willan, featured a distinguished and experienced panel comprising George Eddings, litigation partner with Holman Fenwick & Willan, David Martin-Clark, mediator and barrister at Stone Chambers, and Jean Richards, expert witness and director of Quantum Shipping, moderated by Jeffrey Blum, chairman of the ICS London branch.

The audience heard of the challenges they face in terms of potential exposure arising from errors or negligence, or from principals with differing views of events.

The importance of disclosure and documentary disciplines was highlighted and attitudes examined to mediation solutions as well as arbitration and litigation.

Expert witness guidance was given — a willingness to go to the pub if necessary appears important — and the audience heard the background to the challenges faced by such witnesses in a changing maritime environment.

The next in this regular series of ICS London branch seminars is expected to be held in the spring. Details will be available on www.icslondon.org.uk in due course.

lastword@lloydslist.com