Maritime Asset Partners (MAP), the newest name in ship finance, promises to provide some much needed direction for owners, helping fill the capital gap in shipping – just don’t call it a bank.
The ‘non-bank’ was officially launched last week with a host of well-known names mainly in Norwegian shipping and offshore circles as backers. The vehicle, which in a release describes itself as a “non-bank, specialized finance platform”, is led by ex-Deutsche Bank shipping supremo Nick Roos and counts the likes of Arne Blystad and Axel Lorentzen as investors.
Kuwait private equity firm Wafra Capital is also a major investor as is Nergaard Investments Partners, a family owned investment company led by Birger and Alex Nergaard. LMP, a family Investment company owned by Asia-based Paal and Jannicke Utvik is another key investor.
The platform will focus primarily on secured lending, leasing and structured equity solutions in the industrial shipping and the offshore oil and gas sectors.
“MAP will benefit from the substantial commitment shown by both financial and maritime industry stakeholders,” Roos tells Maritime CEO. The initial outlay of the platform stands at around $150m.
Each deal will be concluded on its own merit, Roos says. “We are expecting to build a diversified portfolio but there are no defined allocations between sectors.”
For this year Roos sees most finance demands coming from S&P deals as well as refinancing loans maturing at banks who may not wish to renew facilities.
Newbuilds still seem a way off for the stretched markets, Roos reckons.
“The market will, as it always does, set the terms for newbuild activity,” he says, adding: “Charter rates imply that most sectors would benefit from further tightening of supply.”
Roos claims that MAP is “sector agnostic”. He explains: “MAP is more a fixed income platform, primarily concerned with protecting downside risk than predicting upside opportunities, which is the role of pure equity plays.”
A glance at the investors involved shows that many are also backing the new Oslo shipping bank – Maritime and Merchant.
“The two platforms are entirely unconnected,” Roos stresses, “and will adopt their own approach to risk profile and market sectors. Having said that, I look forward to cooperating with Maritime and Merchant Bank where circumstances bring us together, on an arms- length basis, in the same way as other lenders who have appetite for deals in the sector.”