Around the start of the year two old shipping pals clubbed together to buy a Danish shipowner as a platform for a new business vehicle.
Jens Gronning (pictured, right) and Søren Andersen (pictured, left) purchased Otto Danielsen from Norway’s Tschudi Shipping Company. Otto Danielsen’s foundations date back to 1944 when it was created initially as a shipbroker. Latterly it became an owner, while retaining its broking division and in 2005 Tschudi bought out the family run firm.
Gronning revealed via his LinkedIn page: “[O]ur aim is to create a boutique asset management platform offering maritime investment opportunities to capital investors and providing full project and asset management services from conception to exit.”
Andersen, speaking with Maritime CEO in our regular Friday shipowning interview slot, explains he and Gronning’s working relationship goes back a long way. They worked together in the 1990s in Denmark for Knud I Larsen and later for Tschudi & Eitzen.
“We know the chemistry between us is excellent,” Andersen says.
Since the 1990s Gronning has mainly been in the tanker business at UACC in the Middle East and most recently with Team Tankers, while Andersen has worked a lot in the multipurpose and containership sectors both on the shipowning side as well as with liner operations.
For the last 12-18 months the two men worked separately as independent consultants on various shipping projects including acquisitions, sale and leasebacks, and warehousing for German banks.
“We had ambitions and appetite for more, but we felt we lacked a structured platform from which we could expand,” Andersen relates. They found that platform in Otto Danielsen where Andersen had previously acted as managing director from 2005 to 2014.
The business rationale for the new venture is to offer maritime investment opportunities to capital investors and provide full project and asset management services from conception of the project to the exit.
“We believe,” Andersen says, “that in today’s market it’s all about delivering an innovative and personal service to clients. We aim to do exactly that by combining our extensive managerial experience with our hands-on operational capabilities.”
Expect this Scandinavian pair to make investments in plenty of different sectors. Andersen says the time is “ripe” for dry bulk acquisitions, but there are also some “interesting opportunities” for tankers and containerships.
“The challenge is picking the winners not only from a timing point of view,” Andersen maintains, “but also considering a vessel’s quality/condition as well as the employment situation, counterparty risks, etc.
“It’s no good getting the timing right,” he continues, “if what you buy is of an inferior quality either structural or from an employment perspective.”
This is where Andersen and Gronning believe they can add value to their clients’ investment strategies.