The panelists concurred that debt and equity investors particularly favored shipping companies with energy related assets, particularly in the LNG, product tanker and offshore sectors. Well managed, moderately levered companies with strong counterparties in these sectors are able to tap a broad range of debt and equity sources, from Norwegian and US high yield bonds to preferred equity to common equity of both corporate and master limited partnership (MLP) issuers. While most of these offerings appeal to investors' thirst for yield, there are signs that value oriented international institutional investors are increasingly entering the shipping capital markets.
PRIVATE EQUITY - PANEL DISCUSSION
John F. Imhof Jr., Partner - Watson, Farley & Williams (New York) LLP
Sofia Kalomenides, Partner, Central & Southeast Europe, Markets Leader - Ernst & Young
Hamish Norton, Head of Corporate Development - Oceanbulk Maritime (USA) Inc.
Jasvinder Khaira, Principal, Tactical Opportunities - Blackstone Group LP
The panel opened by discussing the market conditions that have led to many of the recent private equity investments in shipping, including the cyclical nature of the industry, the current industry downturn and the industry's need for additional capital. The panel also discussed the types of private equity investments being made, the perspectives and objectives that private equity funds and their partners bring to joint ventures, and the kinds of issues that can arise in structuring a shipping joint venture. The panel concluded by discussing the future of private equity in shipping, whether further investment can be expected, and the kinds of future investments that may be attractive to private equity investors.
RESTRUCTURING PANEL DISCUSSION:
Robert Burns, Partner - Bracewell & Giuliani LLP
Jeffrey Pribor, Global Head of Shipping Investment Banking - Jefferies & Company, Inc.
Mark Friedman, Managing Director - Evercore Partners
Alexander Tracy, Managing Director - Miller Buckfire & Co., LLC
The Restructuring Panel sought to examine the more recent trends emerging within distressed shipping companies that have led to far fewer bankruptcy proceedings than was originally anticipated, in light of the market volatility for shipping over the past several years. They also reviewed changes in bank attitudes and approaches towards restructurings, including packaging and selling shipping debt and seizing assets. Specifically regarding the resale of debt, it seems that the demand has grown amongst hedge funds and private equity investors, looking for an ideal entry point into the shipping space without the inherent risks that the equity market brings
ANALYST PANEL DISCUSSION
Clay Maitland, Managing Partner - International Registries; Founding Chairman - NAMEPA
Douglas Mavrinac, Shipping Analyst - Jefferies & Company, Inc.
Ben Nolan, Director of Shipping Research - Knight Capital Americas, L.P.
Fotis Giannakoulis, Shipping Analyst - Morgan Stanley
Herman Hildan, Shipping Analyst - RS Platou Markets AS
Michael Webber, Senior Analyst, Director, Equity Research, Global Shipping - Wells Fargo Securities, LLC
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