Marine Link
Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Banking News

Oil Up as U.S., China hit the Trade War Pause Button

Oil prices rose on Monday as markets reacted to news that China and the United States have put a looming trade war between the world's two biggest economies "on hold". Brent crude futures were at $79.13 per barrel at 0121 GMT, up 62 cents, or 0.8 percent, from their last close. Brent broke through $80 for the first time since November 2014 last week. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $71.83 a barrel, up 55 cents, or 0.8 percent, from their last settlement. The U.S. trade war with China is "on hold" after the world's largest economies agreed to drop their tariff threats while they work on a wider trade agreement, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday, giving global markets a lift in early trading on Monday.

Iran's Oil Customers in Europe Might Reduce Imports

© compuinfoto / Adobe Stock

European oil companies are not ruling out reducing Iranian oil imports after the threat of new U.S. sanctions, with some expecting banking issues to hinder trade, but there was no rush to immediately cut volumes.U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the United States was exiting an international nuclear deal with Iran and would impose new sanctions that seek to reduce oil exports from OPEC's third-largest producer.But as of Friday, companies in Europe said they were still taking Iranian oil.

India Seeks Banks Financial Support for Inland Water Transport

The IWAI chairperson NutanGuha Biswas and other senior officials at the workshop. Photo: PIB

The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) will involve banks for ensuring availability of financing options for the private players engaged in Inland Water Transport (IWT) sector. Financing and funding for Operation and Maintenance of IWT assets is a challenge for shippers, vessel operators and asset management firms as the banking sector is not yet ready with any customized financing option for the sector. Addressing the day-long Stakeholders Conference on Emerging Business opportunities in Inland Water Transport Sectorwas organized by IWAI at New Delhi…

Financiers Turning the Tide on Shipbreaking Practices

© knovakov / Adobe Stock

The shipping industry has long been criticised by campaigners for allowing vessels to be broken up on beaches, endangering workers and polluting the sea and sand. Now, it is being called to account from a quarter that may have a bit more clout - its financial backers. Norway's $1 trillion Oil Fund, a leader in ethical investing, in February sold its stake in four firms because they scrap on the beach. Three of the firms excluded by Norway's fund - Taiwan's Evergreen Marine, Precious Shipping and Thoresen Thai Agencies (TTA) of Thailand - say they have been unfairly singled out.

Indian Fishermen Hail US Supreme Court Decision to Hear World Bank Suit

© pjhpix / Adobe Stock

Farmers and fishermen in western India have welcomed a U.S. Supreme Court decision to hear their lawsuit against a World Bank agency, which financed a power plant they blame for damaging the environment and their livelihoods.The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear an appeal by the villagers of a lower court ruling that the International Finance Corp (IFC) was immune from such lawsuits under federal law.The court must now consider for the first time whether international organisations are immune from such suits under federal law…

EX-IM Bank, Marad Agreement to Facilitate Shipping

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) and the Maritime Administration (MARAD) signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a program to provide Ex-Im Bank-guaranteed working capital loans for shipping, logistics and other companies involved in ocean freight transportation. The agreement also updates certain shipping requirements for Ex-Im Bank transactions. Under the agreement, Ex-Im Bank can provide working capital loans to export service providers, enabling them to extend credit terms to their export clients. The Bank will also increase its working capital guarantee from 90 percent to 95 percent for U.S. companies that ship on U.S. flag vessels. Ex-Im Bank and MARAD also agreed to raise the minimum threshold for Ex-Im Bank-guaranteed U.S.

Prosafe Extends Standstill Agreement with COSCO

Prosafe has extended a standstill agreement with COSCO Shipping (Qidong) Offshore Co. Ltd in China for two harsh environment semi-submersible accommodation units, Safe Nova and Safe Vega.The standstill agreement has been extended until May 21, 2018 as Prosafe continues negotiations with COSCO and related parties for a workable commercial solution for the two units.A third unit, Safe Eurus, is in a preserved, strategic stacking mode and negotiations continue with COSCO to find a workable commercial solution.If no agreement is reached, Prosafe has the right to claim cancellation of the newbuild contracts due to delay, and claim repayment of the instalments paid including interest of approximately $60 million in total…

Greek Banks Mull Cutting Shipping Portfolios

Greece's leading banks are considering offloading part of their portfolios of shipping debt worth billions of dollars in a bid to shore up their capital, according to banking and ship financing sources. Greece has secured an extension to its bailout from its European partners, but the danger of it unravelling and of Greece being pushed out of the euro zone still exists, raising the risk that Greek banks could face large deposit losses in the future to add to those they have already had. "There are several portfolios being shopped around at the moment, including shipping loans," one banking source said. The banker and a ship-finance source said such debt could be attractive for private equity players who have been scooping up distressed assets in shipping due to the sector downturn.

Cyprus Financial Crisis: Effect on Shipping Interests

Cypriot Transport Minister, Tasos Mitsopoulos, states the nation's shipping registry will not be affected by turmoil in banking sector. The Minister downplayed the impact of Cyprus's banking crisis on the local shipping industry, pointing out that none of the island's banks are active in ship financing, reports Tax-News. Despite Mitsopoulos's assurances, many shipping companies' bank deposits in Cyprus are expected to be heavily impacted by the banking sector developments, and could see losses topping 40% on amounts over EUR100,000, alongside the imposition of capital controls, which may restrict the companies' business activities. Source: Tax-News    

Minoan Lines To Sign Loan

Ferry operator Minoan Lines will sign a $253.5 million syndicated loan jointly arranged by Citibank and National Bank of Greece to finance four highspeed ferries under construction, according to officials. Participating in the syndicated loan are Bayerische Hypo und Vereinsbank, Commercial Bank of Greece, Deutsche Schiffsbank, Landesbank Schleswig-Holstein Girozentrale, Alpha Credit Bank, BNP, Commerzbank, Meespierson, Schiffhypothekenbank zu Luebeck, Nedship Bank, ABN AMRO Bank and Efibanca.

Wisdom Marine Takes Loan for Japanese Orders

Wisdom Marine Group signed a two-tranche syndicated loan agreement for $5.92 million (USD) and ¥11.88 billion ($119.43 million, USD) with six domestic banks to finance its orders with three Japanese shipbuilders, Taipei Times reported. The syndicated loan was co-led by First Commercial Bank and Bank of Taiwan, with participating loans from Taiwan Cooperative Bank, Hua Nan Commercial Bank, Bank SinoPac and Bank of Kaohsiung. Wisdom Marine and its subsidiaries placed orders with three Japanese shipbuilders Oshima Shipbuilding Co Ltd, Sasebo Heavy Industries Co Ltd and Tsuneishi Shipbuilding Co Ltd to build six bulk vessels. Delivery is anticipated sometime between this year and 2015.

Hellenic Ship Finances Look Up

Photo Credit: Iolcos Hellenic Maritime Enterprises

The overall Greek loans of Hellenic maritime companies and ship owners (drawn and committed but undrawn) rose to $64.019 billion by the end of 2014, 4.1% higher than the $61.498 billion of 2013. Petrofin Research in its latest annual research says that drawn loans are up by 2.85% and Commitments by 18.11%, the latter prompted by the high Greek newbuilding orders. Of the 5 Greek banks active in the shipping finance market, National Bank of Greece shows an increase by 7.33% and Aegean Baltic by 11.99%. The rest show minor decreases.

Merchant Bank Invests in New BWTS Project

Photo courtesy of Capital Corp Merchant Banking

Capital Corp Merchant Banking, a U.S.-based merchant banking group, say they have been working on an environmentally friendly ballast water treatment system (BWTS) project with a client and have entered into USD $41-million funding agreement with them. This patent-pending project makes better, more energy-efficient use of existing ballast water treatment technologies, resulting in a smaller energy footprint of the system and decreasing the ship's power-capacity needs. The funding structure Capital Corp Merchant Banking has devised consists of providing its client with $19M in common stock…

ECB Reviews Shipping Loans

Image: European Central Bank

European Central Bank (ECB) kicked off a review into the risks of banks’ shipping exposure, Reuters reported. ECB is conducting an in-depth review of banks’ exposure in shipping amid rising provisions for bad debt in an industry still mired in crisis. The ECB’s banking supervisor sent an email at the end of last week asking a raft of European banks for details of their shipping loans and the status of their loan loss provisions as an “initial step” in a broader review of lending in the sector, one of the sources quoted the email as saying.

KfW uses Eurofin to target Greek owners

Eurofin to act as its consultant. clients and identifying ship financing opportunities for the bank. Dr. clients. stronger than it has ever been. good banks such as KfW IPEX-Bank have to be selective. finance, and short-term trade finance. scale. refinancing at market rates at all times.

Vitol Returns for $8 Bln Loan Refinancing

Geneva-headquartered energy and commodities trader Vitol has signed an US$8bn loan refinancing of credit facilities agreed in October 2016, the company announced on Wednesday. The revolving credit facility, which is used for working capital and general corporate purposes, comprises a three-year tranche and a 364-day tranche. The three-year tranche totals over US$7bn. ABN AMRO Bank, Commerzbank, Credit Agricole CIB, HSBC Bank and ING Bank were active bookrunners on the transaction. Bank of America Merrill Lynch, MUFG, BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, DBS Bank, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, Lloyds Bank, Mizuho Bank, Natixis, Rabobank, Societe Generale, Standard Chartered Bank, SMBC and UniCredit Bank were mandated lead arrangers and bookrunners.

Greece's Alpha Bank Raises Over $500 mln Via Shipping Loan Deal

Greece's Alpha Bank raised more than $500 million from a transaction backed by shipping loans, it confirmed on Thursday, one of the first of its kind by a Greek bank since 2008. Reuters reported in November that Alpha Bank, Greece's fourth-largest bank, was to raise about $510 million by bundling together shipping loans. The fundraising, arranged by Citigroup, has a five-year maturity. Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou

Study Assesses Hurricane Impacts Coral Reefs

The Department of the Interior’s Minerals Management Service (MMS) recently concluded a study that gives new insight into the effects Hurricane Rita had on the Gulf of Mexico’s important coral reefs and banks in and around the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. The $357,000 study, entitled Post-Hurricane Assessment of Sensitive Habitats of the Flower Garden Banks Vicinity, provided an understanding of hurricane impacts, characterized the condition of the banks, and created a baseline for future assessment. “Protecting marine resources is an important part of the MMS mission and it’s essential for MMS to identify and assess any damage to these valuable habitats,” said MMS Director Liz Birnbaum.

Maersk Divest its Shares in Danske Bank

Danske Bank A/S Photo: A.P. Møller – Mærsk A/S

Danish shipping and energy giant A.P. Møller – Maersk A/S has sold its shares in the Danske Bank A/S for a total of DKK 3.2 billion (USD 477 million). Maersk owns 16.2 million shares representing 1.6 per cent of the total shares in Denmark's largest bank. Sales are made through an accelerated book building, which will also determine the price, according to Maersk. Following the placing, the shipping and energy firm will hold no shares in Danske Bank. American bank JPMorgan and Swedish major bank Nordea are hired as consultants for Maersk in the sales process.

Bank of Ireland Winding Down Shipping Loans

Bank of Ireland said it is winding down its shipping business, joining other banks looking to cut non-core lending and exposure to an industry suffering its worst downturn. Many European banks are already bogged down by a sluggish economy and face tough capital demands from regulators which are eroding profitability, leaving many looking for ways to shore up their balance sheets. Parts of the shipping industry are suffering their deepest ever downturn as international trade slows. Around 90 percent of world trade is transported by sea. "As previously stated, Bank of Ireland no longer lends within the shipping finance sector and we have been winding down the portfolio," the bank, Ireland's largest by assets, told Reuters on Tuesday.

Capital Products Acquires M/T Anikitos

© RENE HENRI ROSSEEL/ MarineTraffic.com

Capital Product Partners L.P. has announced that it has completed the previously announced acquisition of the M/T Anikitos, an eco-type MR product tanker (50,082 dwt IMO II/III Chemical Product Tanker built 2016, Samsung Heavy Industries (Ningbo) Co., Ltd.) for a total consideration of $31.5 million from Capital Maritime & Trading Corp.The Partnership funded the acquisition of the M/T Anikitos with the net proceeds received from the sale of the M/T Aristotelis, available cash and the assumption of a term loan under a credit facility with ING Bank NV of approximately $15.6 million.

Poland Cuts Dependence on Russian Oil but at a Cost

© Nightman1965 / Adobe Stock

Poland's imports of Russian oil last year fell to their lowest level since 2005, a central bank report published on Tuesday showed, though Warsaw's bid to diversify its energy imports also meant paying higher prices.Russian oil accounted for 76 percent of all oil purchases, down from 96 percent in 2012, as state-run refiners PKN Orlen and Lotos increased their purchases of oil from sources other than Russia.PKN Orlen signed a long-term agreement on regular oil supplies with Saudi…

Damen's Boer Secures WISTA Post

Sylvia Boer (Photo: Damen)

Damen’s Head of Communications, Sylvia Boer, has recently been appointed President of the Netherlands chapter of WISTA – the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association. WISTA the Netherlands was founded in 2000 and currently has 140 members from across the maritime industry. WISTA the Netherlands focuses on a number of priority topics affecting the industry. Amongst these are sustainability, new technologies, big data, health & safety, cyber security, block chain, developing cultural sensitivity and last, but by no means least, clean oceans.

Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover May 2018 - Marine Propulsion Edition

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