New York: He’s one of the best connected men in the ship finance sector, and today Jim Lawrence provides readers with his thoughts on where the strongest sources of capital for shipping are.
The founder of New York’s media firm Marine Money, the best known title covering ship finance for the past 25 years, Lawrence starts by discussing private equity.
“After five years of sniffing around the sidelines, private equity is now jumping in opportunistically with strategic partners,” he says. “They identify a sector to dominate. So far, they have got it right.”
For Lawrence arguably the most intriguing source of capital at the moment is the Norwegian capital institutional market, which he says is going “great guns” with a lot of US involvement. “It’s fantastic,” he says, “and exciting for the shipping industry. We think we’ll see Norway as a great first step to start a major capital programme.”
Norway’s clever ready-made products could ultimately be replicated in other shipping centres, such as New York or Singapore, Lawrence reckons.
The other huge source of funding has come from Asian governments keen to keep their shipyards ticking over.
“The fall off in orders across shipbuilding has seen Asian governments come in with stimulus packages and generous financial structures,” Lawrence relates.
Meanwhile, the banks are “very slowly but surely” gearing back up again.
“The worst is clearly behind for financiers,” says Lawrence.
Marine Money is 25 years old this year. As well as its magazine and online offerings, the company now has 18 events around the world. Lawrence is also a partner at one of shipping’s best-known crisis communications firm, MTI Network. [25/09/13]