As of today in Italy there are roughly $1bn of shipping-related non-performing loans (NPLs) up for sale, according to Fabrizio Vettosi, managing director of the private equity fund Venice Shipping & Logistics. Speaking at a conference in Italy, Vettosi added that banks have already dismissed some. Furthermore he added that “the banks has already dismissed some $1.6bn of NPLs in recent years, drastically transforming the landscape of the Italian shipowning scene.
Key buyers to date have mainly been speculative financial investors such as Taconic Capital, Attestor Capital, Pillarstone, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Bain Capital.
Among the Italian banks, Unicredit is still the most active on the shipping market although the Milan-based lender reduced its exposure with shipowners from $6.5bn in 2008 to $4.4bn in 2016.
Vettosi, who is also at the helm of the finance commission of the Italian shipowners association Confitarma, also added that the overall financial exposure of the local shipping industry with the banks stands at some $14bn and half of those ($7.6bn) are non-performing loans or credits classified as unlikely to pay linked to bulk carriers and tanker ships.
Statistics collected by Clarksons say that the Italian merchant fleet is worth $34.5bn today and roro, ropax and cruise vessels account for $18bn.