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.
The new bank facility (priced at LIBOR plus margins between 300 and 350, which extends debt maturities out to 2023, removes restrictions on additional debt incurrence and vessel purchase, as old ships are swapped out for newer vessels – mainly Capesize and Ultramax, at a time that investors believe that the market cycle has turned upward.
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