The eShipfinance.com platform can now finance multiple-vessel deals and has nearly $200m of lending in the pipeline
Cost and time benefits of the platform are increasingly being pitched to banks. The vessel funding platform launched by veteran banker Dagfinn Lunde is offering a flexible new version that allows deals with multiple vessels and coverage of a greater proportion of a ship’s value.
The eShipfinance.com platform, launched in 2018, claimed to be the first active maritime fintech, but it was limited to single-ship projects and provided financing of up to 50% with a fixed interest rate.
Fund founders: Dagfinn Lunde with and chief financial officer Marina Tzoutzouraki / Source: Greek Shipping Hall of Fame
Since then, said Mr Lunde, it has completed financing of more than $70m while the team’s advisory work has soared to $90m. It has a pipeline of $200m of business, virtually all of it lending, he said. Returns have ranged from 3.5% to — in one case in the troubled offshore sector more than a year ago— 15%.
“It depends on the project and the appetite of the investor, and where you are in the cycle within the specific sector.” The largest single financing deal to date was $29m for a containership, said Mr Lunde, who is also chairman of Cleaves Securities and a former managing director of DVB Bank. He co-founded eShipfinance.com with chief executive Tarun Gulati, another former DVB executive, and chief financial officer Marina Tzoutzouraki, a former shipping banker. The experienced investment committee engages in robust analysis of projects to probe for weaknesses and to safeguard investors.
“I am happy to see the increased interest in our platform,” Mr Lunde told Lloyd’s List. “The new version will give shipowners and investors even more possibilities. It is a process but interest has definitely been growing steadily.” The benefits for shipowners wishing to raise finance through the platform include project pre-approval in “as little as 20 minutes”, it is claimed.
The platform is already said to be supported by 30 alternative investors but the team is also pitching the advanced model to banks. “It can save banks a lot of time and money,” Mr Lunde said. “With regulation nowadays it can cost a bank $250,000 just to enter a new customer, which they cannot afford to do unless the customer is huge.’’ The platform could potentially help banks “double their portfolio at a fraction of the cost”.
“Ideal targets” for eShipfinance.com are described as companies of “anywhere between two and 10 ships”.
Mr Lunde also said: “With the new model we can do 100 ships if necessary.”
– 12 Jun 2022 – By Nigel Lowry for Lloyd’s List
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