5 December 2014 – Trade Winds
British Marine principal Alan Bekhor is orchestrating the billionaire siblings’ impressive comeback to shipping with an initial fleet of 20 bulkers
The structure of Reuben Brothers’ big-time re-entry into shipping is shaping up, with long-time family partner Alan Bekhor taking the spotlight in its management alongside David Reuben’s son, Jamie. RB Shipping, which aims to grow from an initial fleet of 20 dry bulk ships, has entered a joint venture with Bekhor’s British Marine to create a “powerful shipping franchise” — RB British Marine — with up to 50 vessels within two years. It will also serve partners’ fleets and provide structured finance.
British Marine’s current supramax fleet of nine vessels will be complemented by seven RB Shipping kamsarmax newbuildings worth more than $200m to form RB British Marine’s initial platform, the latest issue of TW+ reveals.Bekhor, who is said to be very close to brothers David and Simon Reuben, was at one time group managing director of the billionaires’ Trans-World Metals outfit in the 1990s.
At Bekhor’s right-hand is Sunil Malhotra, who is also a Trans-World veteran. He joined the group in 1993 as managing director of Universal Bulk Transport, which managed Trans-World’s shipping interests. At its peak, Universal Bulk was one of the largest charterers in Europe. Alongside Bekhor and Malhotra at RB British Marine is one of RB Resources Group’s key figures, Mehmet Saydam. Jamie Reuben will help oversee the RB British Marine operation — split between the Reubens’ Millbank Tower on the River Thames in London and Bekhor’s Manchester Square headquarters in the city’s West End. Saydam, a former natural resources and commodities specialist at investment banks including Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, has been advising Reuben Brothers on the expansion of its natural resources franchise in sectors including shipping, iron ore, coal and energy. He is understood to be pivotal to RB British Marine’s plans to exploit structured finance opportunities, possibly bringing new investors to the industry.
Reuben Brothers says it feels the market fundamentals are moving in the right direction “and that the time was right to enter into this market — a natural extension of our existing commodity and infrastructure-related businesses”.