by Barry Parker, New York Correspondent, Seatrade Maritime
All of a sudden, there are deals in the air. The mood at the at last week's Marine Money 2018 conference, held over a span of three days, in New York was ebullient.
In contrast to previous years, where hordes of distressed investors in 2015, high priced lenders in 2017, or restructuring specialists in 2012, and even private equity investors in 2010 and 2013 seemed to be over-running the venue, this year’s event saw platoons (not armies) of commercial bankers, and investment banker types looking for deals.
This year, a new group - the tech fringe was in evidence, fitting in far more seamlessly than in 2000 and 2001 when Marine Money attempted to put bankers in the same room with dot-comers - a-non starter if there ever was one. Long time banker Dagfinn Lunde, now chairman of eShipfinance.com, a conference speaker, and accounting veteran George Cambanis (in the audience, now managing director of YieldStreet lent an august and calming nature to providing debt, as “FinTech” is increasingly infused into ship finance.
in Splash 247
Dagfinn Lunde will be debuting a brand new financing platform at Posidonia this year
So here we are at Posidonia once again and my, oh my how the mood of owners descending on Athens has changed since the last edition two years ago.
I will be using the world's most famous shipping show to launch my new project - eShipfinance.com - a platform designed to address the shortage in the availability of ship finance to the majority of shipowners around the world, not least in Greece.
To my mind, the market over the past year has become overblown by words like digital and blockchain.
It is interesting to see how shipping on the cargo and brokering side has developed all manner of potentially useful online tools, but in ship finance there's been just the release of shipowner.io and some fund-based leaseback vehicles.
If you look at other industries there are already an unbelievable number of financing platforms that have been created to cater for just about everything - the Zooplas of this world - but no one has cracked it in ship finance ... yet!
by Harry Papachristou in Tradewinds
Banking veteran Dagfinn Lunde and Greek co-founder Marina Tzoutzouraki set out to revolutionise S&P financing
SUPPOSE YOU ARE a small or medium-size Greek shipowner who needs to borrow money to refinance or buy a vessel.
The European bank you used to do business with is not an option—it left shipping years ago. Greek lenders are also out of the question: their balance sheets are stretched and whatever liquidity they can spare goes primarily to their existing clients.
What do you do? Shipping finance veteran Dagfinn Lunde has the answer: switch on your computer and go to the internet. He says his new venture, eShipfinance.com, matches shipowners with investors on a project-by-project basis, in a few steps, on standardised terms and with minimum paperwork.
Project co-founder Marina Tzoutzouraki points out that internet banking is already common: “In Britain, you can use digital platforms to take out small loans or borrow money to buy a car or a house. Nothing like that exists, so far, in shipping.”
Going digital can be viewed as a culmination of what Lunde has been doing throughout his extensive career in ship financing. The former head of shipping at DVB Bank has been constantly striving to make his businesses leaner and meaner. “I’ve been in many companies and many banks, in and out, and I’ve always been able to do things more efficiently,” he tells TradeWinds.
For example, at Maritime & Merchant Bank, an Oslo lender he helped set up after retiring from DVB and where he was a board member until recently, Lunde and his partners managed to squeeze the cost-to-income ratio to 15% — far below the banking industry average.