Augustea Bunge Maritime (ABML), a joint venture (JV) firm of Italy-based privately-owned group Augustea Atlantica and New York-based Bunge, has formed a new JV with York Capital Management to operate an independent fleet of ocean-going dry-bulk vessels.

The new Malta-based venture, known as ABY Holding (ABY), will be headed by ABML managing director Koert Erhardt.

To grow the business, the company plans to seek acquisitions and the chartering of modern ships.

The partnership with York is expected to boost the commercial goals of ABML by expanding the resources available to build a fleet of scale.

The ABY fleet currently includes two ships, the 106kdwt ABML Eva which was built in 2012, and the 172kdwt ABML Grace, which was built in 2002.

In addition to the two ships, ABY also owns three ships that are under construction at Japanese shipyards.

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The new venture will receive support on technical management and advisory services from Augustea and Bunge respectively.

Erhardt said, "This is a truly unique opportunity to draw on the complementary resources and skill sets of Augustea, a world class ship owner, Bunge, a leading global agribusiness, and York, a top tier investment firm."

York Capital Management global credit partner and head William Vrattos said, " "We are pleased to participate in this joint venture as we seek to gain further exposure to the compelling investment opportunities we see in the maritime shipping industry."

Augustea Group CEO Raffaele Zagari said ABY will continue to focus on acquiring first-class quality dry bulk tonnage while benefitting from the wide array of skills that their partners provide.

"This new partnership will help Augustea enhance its ability to provide first-class maritime services to its customers," Zagari added.