Hard hit German non-operating owners seek Berlin`s aid

Time:2009-10-29 Browse:21 Author:RISINGSUN

GERMAN non-operating shipowners Claus-Peter Offen and Peter Dohle are seeking loan guarantees from Berlin`s special KfW Sonderprogramm, that offer bridge financing to companies deemed healthy but too troubled by the downturn to invest, reports the Paris-based Alphaliner Weekly Newsletter.
The state programme is handled by the KfW Mittelstandsbank in close coordination other German banks.
Seven out of 10 idle containerships in the charter market are owned by German non-operating shipowners, based on Alphaliner numbers. Of the top 20 list of the idle fleets of non-operating owners (NOO), 18 are German, including CP Offen ships, 17 of which, totalling 37,700 TEU, have been mothballed.
Fellow owner Peter Dohle only has four ships totalling 7,500 TEU, but faces greater demands from charterers who want rates reduced, plus the company has the biggest Chilean exposure to CSAV debt-for-equity swap scheme as well as four ships chartered to troubled CCNI.
Both CP Offen and Peter Dohle have applied for loan facilities from the KfW Sonderprogramm as they face increasing difficulty in securing financing to fund newbuildings.
Vessels of German non-operating owners are commonly owned by specially set-up one-ship Kommanditgesellschaft funds. Typically, banks finance about 70 per cent of the cost of a new vessel while the remaining 30 per cent comes from individual investors.
But investment in these companies has fallen 83 per cent to EUR160 million (US$238.1 million) in the first six months of the year. They are also under pressure from operators to absorb surplus ships. Banks are reluctant to continue with old business methods and it has often become impossible to finance vessels, which have been delivered.