ECONOMY

Private equity firms fill shipping funding gap

The reluctance or inability of Greek and foreign banks to fund ocean-going shipping has allowed for the entry of new players in the market, namely certain foreign private equity funds.

It is estimated that funds of about $1 billion coming from private equities have been channeled into collaborations with Greek shipowners for the acquisition of ocean-going vessels whose prices – due to the prolonged crisis in the ship chartering markets – have declined considerably. Foreign funds therefore have found in Greek shipping a good partner for sailing the particularly competitive and fully globalized seas of ocean-going shipping.

A case in point is the Carlyle Group, which recently committed $100 million to a consortium with a Greek shipping company that is involved in the dry bulk carrier market, acquiring five ships with 50 percent of the consortium’s capital.

Interest has also been recorded in the purchase of bad shipping loans that have ocean-going vessels as collateral.

“Everyone talks to everyone, as the absence of bank funding forces shipping to seek out alternatives, mostly offered by the US capital market,” a Greek banker told Kathimerini.