Holyman

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Holyman Ltd
Former typePublic (ASX HLN)
FateAcquired by Lang Corporation
Defunct2000
HeadquartersSydney, Australia
Area servedWorldwide
Key peopleDick Austen (Chairman)
Chris Butcher (Managing Director)
Reuben Rattray (Finance Director)
Simon Lennon (Company Secretary)
Ian Biner (Strategic Development Manager)
Richard Reagan (Commercial Manager)
Graham Taylor (Technical Manager)
 
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For the song, see Blind Melon
Holyman Ltd
Former typePublic (ASX HLN)
FateAcquired by Lang Corporation
Defunct2000
HeadquartersSydney, Australia
Area servedWorldwide
Key peopleDick Austen (Chairman)
Chris Butcher (Managing Director)
Reuben Rattray (Finance Director)
Simon Lennon (Company Secretary)
Ian Biner (Strategic Development Manager)
Richard Reagan (Commercial Manager)
Graham Taylor (Technical Manager)

Holyman was an Australian company that operated cargo ships and ferries in Australia and other countries worldwide. The company had three divisions; Domestic shipping and transport services, Ferries and Bulk commodity handling.

The company was born of the Shipping and Development Division of global transport group, TNT, and was floated on the Australian Stock Exchange as an independent entity in 1994. Assets in the original float included a gas pipeline, a coal loading terminal, bulk ore carriers, bulk sugar carriers, a 50% interest in Condor Ferries (Guernsey), and premium commuter ferry service, Express Navigation (New York).

Not long after the float, the company expanded its presence in the fast ferry industry by taking a majority stake in a start-up ferry operation, Catlink, in Denmark. The fast car ferry revolutionised transport in Denmark, and the start-up took at 25% market share during its first summer season.

In the same year, it redeployed one of its fast ferries to New Zealand during the Northern Winter / Southern Summer, operating from Wellington to Picton.

The company also expanded its US holdings by acquiring a stake in Catalina Cruises, which operated ferries between Long Beach and Avalon (Catalina Island) in California. To take that holding, Holyman devised an innovative ownership approach, delivering effective financial and management control, while still remaining within the highly restrictive Jones and Passenger Services Acts, laws that prevent foreign ownership of US Domestic shipping interests. The intention was to replicate that structure in investment in other lucrative US domestic ferry opportunities.

In 1997, Holyman over-reached, acquiring a majority interest in Sally Line, which operated a ferry between Ramsgate (UK) and Oostende (Belgium). It replaced the conventional vehicular ferry with a fast Incat built ferry.

For a brief time, at its apogee, Holyman was the world's leading fast vehicle ferry operator.

Unfortunately, the Holyman Sally route was unable to attract sufficient revenue to make the service profitable. Weather conditions and technical issues with the Incat vessel also hampered operations, and ten months after Holyman Sally commenced, the company was in trouble. Interestingly, the poor financial performance of Holyman Sally was almost identical to financial projections prepared during the early analysis of the route's viability by Holyman's development team but these early analyses were dismissed as being too conservative, and the Managing Director pressed on with the project.

At the same time, marketing inertia from local management, coupled with technical and environmental issues, meant Catlink also began to lose money.

The company's losses were fatal, and by mid-1998, the Board of the company began disposing of assets to stave off bankruptcy.

By late 1999, Holyman was a shell, with most of its assets sold, and in 2000 what was left of Holyman Ltd was acquired by Lang Corporation.

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