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KARATZAS MARINE ADVISORS & Co.
‘At all times the idea of doing only first-class business, and that in a first-class way, has been before our minds.’
J.P. Morgan, May 1933; financier & majority shareholder of International Mercantile Marine & Co.
We serve the shipowning community worldwide with our shipbrokerage services for newbuildings, second-hand vessels and demolition sales, for tankers (crude oil, products and chemical tankers), dry bulk vessels (ranging from capesize vessels to handysize bulkers), containerships (most panamax and sub-panamax containership vessels) and offshore assets (PSVs, OSVs, ROVs, dredges, etc) The majority of our clientele is based in major shipping clusters worldwide, but we do maintain an extensive network of correspondent shipbrokers in any market where vessels are traded. Our shipowning clientele ranges from ‘old-style’, family and privately-held independent shipowners to publicly held shipowning companies to financial owners, lessors and any other type of passive vessel ownership.
We also provide advisory and financial services to our shipowning clients, primarily independent private owners desiring financial consulting, business plan preparation and financial preparation prior to seeking access to the financial markets and raising capital through private placements, joint-ventures and co-investments.
PRIVATE EQUITY, PENSION FUNDS & INSTITUTIONAL INVESTORS
Being headquartered in New York with strategic access to the financial markets and institutional investors, whether private equity or hedge funds, family offices or leasing companies, our firm has been providing advisory and market industry expertise to investors looking for in-depth industry knowledge, introductions to C-level shipping industry professionals, worldwide network to complimentary industries to shipping such as vessel commercial and technical managers, charterers, naval architects and engineering firms. We have advised well-recognizable names in the private industry with their investigating the shipping industry.
In addition to advisory services, our firm has often originated transactions with institutional investors by sourcing deal flow and investment opportunities and bringing solid shipping business ideas and management teams to them. Further, we have assisted with evaluation, due diligence, negotiations and with setting up of partnerships and joint ventures between institutional investors and shipowners / vessel managers. Our originations resulted in equity investments, senior loans (first preferred ship mortgages), junior equity, second lien financing, leasing, working capital and Debtor-In-Possession (DIP) financing.
COMMERCIAL BANKS & LENDERS
We have an extensive network and access to commercial banks that are active in shipping worldwide. Our firm has been on the approved panel of shipbrokers to provide vessel valuations for such banks on regular basis; such valuations are utilized for testing loan covenants and loan to value clauses. With the so-called ‘core units’ of shipping banks, our firm has been originating shipping loans for shipowner clients whether on project basis or asset-based financing (first preferred ship mortgages).
With ‘non core units’ of shipping banks, our firm has often been mandated on exclusive basis for the disposition and sale of shipping assets whether on outright market sales, vessel auctions and judicial sales or based on structured transactions. We take great pride than we always have met our clients expectations and have topped their accounting cost basis, even under adverse market conditions.
Our firm has also been advising shipping banks in reference to valuation of shipping loan portfolios and company strategy for the packing, marketing and sale of shipping loans. Our extensive network of contacts with institutional investors has served us well in bringing strong counterparties to such sales.
LEASING COMPANIES & EQUIPMENT FINANCE COMPANIES
Our management team has a very strong record of arranging leasing transactions in the maritime industry, whether financial or operating leases, sale and lease back transactions, ‘charter back’ or ‘bareboat boat’ arrangements for shipowners to monetize on the value of their vessels, to access working capital, to explore a more efficient capital structure, or plainly to divest of asset and residual risk.
Similarly, for lessors with access to passive long term cash flows seeking for long term yield transactions, offering tax beneficially arrangements or seeking residual value exposure, our worldwide clientele of ship owners and our origination capacity of shipping projects have been a constant source of transaction generation.
CARGO INTERESTS & TRADING HOUSES
It often has been said in shipping that ‘cargo is king’, and the last trough of the business cycle has reconfirmed such statement. For cargo owners such as mining or oil companies, refiners, traders of commodities, exporters or importers of commodities, access to cargo is the ultimate safety net for a volatile shipping industry. At present, given the scarcity of easy credit, access to cargoes or contracts of affreightment (COA) is almost the best way of securing financing, whether equity or debt and often ‘soft financing’.
Further, for lenders with non performing loans and idling vessels, the prospect of keeping vessels employed with ‘captive cargo’ interests provides ironclad peace of mind. Whether cargo interests opt for newbuilings, second-hand acquisitions or structured deals, to actually trade cargo or obtain a physical hedge to their market exposure, our firm has a strong track record of sourcing vessels on extremely competitive terms to secure employment with strategic players.
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