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CIT Serves as Sole Lead Arranger for $95.2MM Financing to Heron Ventures

April 16, 2014, 07:05 AM
Filed Under: Marine

CIT Group announced that CIT Maritime Finance provided a $95.2 million senior secured credit facility to Heron Ventures, a joint venture between Oceanbulk Shipping and ABY Group Holding. The facility supports the purchase of a fleet of 12 drybulk vessels and related assets formerly owned by Deiulemar Shipping of Italy. Financing from CIT was provided by CIT Bank, the U.S. commercial bank subsidiary of CIT. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“We viewed this transaction as an ideal opportunity to leverage our existing relationships with Heron Ventures’ partners,” said Svein Engh, Managing Director and Group Head of CIT Maritime Finance. “We were able to put our knowledge and experience in the sector to work to support the purchase of these attractively-priced assets in what was a unique and complex transaction.”

Andrea Zana, a Director of CIT Maritime Finance, added, “This acquisition was complicated by the ships being purchased through a judiciary auction sale in Naples, Italy. An especially high degree of legal due diligence, as well as tireless work by multiple parties, was demanded to meet very stringent requirements imposed by the Italian court.”

Maurizio Pavesi, Director of ABY Group Holding, said, “This financing was particularly complex, and speed and certainty of execution were absolutely critical in this case. CIT’s deep industry expertise and experience, combined with their long-standing relationships and their ability to act quickly helped complete this transaction.”

Hamish Norton, Chief Financial Officer of Oceanbulk Shipping said, “With effectively just over four weeks to complete the acquisition of the twelve vessels and related assets, we felt comfortable asking CIT to structure, underwrite, document and fund this transaction in such a compressed timeframe. CIT’s keen understanding of these special circumstances and their ability to act quickly was instrumental in the smooth completion of this important transaction for Heron Ventures and its partners.”

Oceanbulk Shipping LLC is a joint venture formed in 2012 between Oceanbulk Maritime S.A. and Oaktree Capital Management L.P. to capitalize on the partners’ expertise in the dry bulk maritime sector. Oceanbulk Shipping has a current fleet of 37 vessels, 11 of which are on the water today, while the remaining 26 are newbuilds, the bulk of which are delivering in 2014-15, with 3 scheduled for delivery in 2016.

ABY Group Holding is a joint venture between Augustea, Bunge and York Capital, which was formed with the purpose to invest in dry bulk newbuilds and secondary purchases, as well as charter in and charter out dry tonnage. On top of the 12 vessels acquired in the Deiulemar Shipping bankruptcy, ABY Group currently has a fleet of 11 vessels: three on the water and eight newbuilds to be delivered between 2014 and 2016.

CIT Maritime offers senior secured loans, sale-leasebacks, and bareboat charters to owners and operators of oceangoing cargo vessels including tankers, bulkers, container ships, car carriers, as well as offshore vessels and drilling rigs.

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