Rickmers in deal with Oaktree for containerships
Rickmers Group and the Los Angeles-based investment firm Oaktree Capital Management said Monday they have created a new venture to invest in containerships.
Oaktree will fund eight or 16 new containerships that will be leased to a liner shipping company.
Rickmers, which does not operate a liner service, but does have a fleet of roughly 90 containerships in its fleet on charter to companies, including Maersk Line, CMA CGM and MOL, will contribute expertise in ship building, ship management and asset management to the venture.
The two firms said they expect their strategic partnership to broaden over time.
The companies did not reveal the exact size of the ships, but said they will be in the 5,000-7,500 TEU range. They said the ships will have a “modern design design focusing on environmental compliance, operational, load and fuel efficiency, which will be built at a quality shipyard in Asia for delivery between mi-2014 and mid-2015.”
With funding from so-called “KG” investment companies in Germany, once a major source of capital for containership construction, drying up, new strategies for raising money for containerships are being explored.
“Against the background of the continued crisis in ship financing, Oaktree and Rickmers are presenting a new way of cooperation between private equity and the shipping sector for investments in state-of-the-art vessels”, said Ignace Van Meenen, deputy chief executive officer and chief financial officer of Rickmers Holding.
“Our partnership with Oaktree represents a positive step in the development of new capital sources for the shipping sector," said Ronald D. Widdows, CEO of Rickmers Holdings. "It allows us to begin to respond to the need to start investing in the tonnage of the future, offering liner carriers an attractive alternative to replace their existing higher cost fleet."
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