Finance & Insurance, News

Maritime & Merchant AS granted banking license in Norway

Maritime & Merchant AS (M&M) (TBR Maritime & Merchant Bank ASA) has received regulatory approval to operate a private bank in Norway, underpinning the firm’s strategy to become a niche financial institution dedicated to meeting the funding needs of owners...

“M&M filed a banking license application on the 13 November 2013 and we are very pleased with the rapid handling of the application, which now allows us to fully concentrate on the forthcoming capital issue, completion of the core bank system and putting the organisation together.’’

“We are currently preparing for a capital issue with a target of USD 300-350 mill in equity to fund operations. We have selected Pareto Securities AS and DNB Markets as Joint Lead Managers and Bookrunners, with Cleaves Securities to act as Financial Advisor. We aim to start operations during April 2014.’’

M&M will be a highly specialised niche financial institution focused on the maritime and offshore industries with an emphasis on providing mortgage based lending.

Over the past years, the introduction of stricter capital requirements, in combination with the severe impact the financial crisis had on the banking community in general, has forced many banks to either discontinue lending to owners, or scale back on activities in ship finance. This tight credit market has left many small- to medium-sized owners facing difficulties when seeking financing.

“There are interesting opportunities out there,” Sveen states, “with a market emerging from a down cycle, favourable asset prices and, currently, increasing rates in some sectors. But smaller and medium-sized players, even those with an excellent reputation, can’t take advantage of that without accessing finance.”

M&M will be a small operation conducting business on a personal level, keeping overheads as low as possible while focusing on quality assurance during the entire decision process. M&M thinks this is possible based on a business concept that concentrates on mortgage based lending to an industry that the management team comes from and understands.

“At M&M, we implicitly understand our clients needs and they understand us. You talk straight to the person that can help; your banking partner,” said Sveen.

M&M directors combine broad industry knowledge and outstanding networks, with unique insights – gleaned from genuine niche/segment expertise – and specialised investment products and services custom-made for the industry. Initially the team is targeting the tanker, dry bulk, LPG/LNG, chemical tanker, container vessel, car carrier, ro/ro and MPP asset classes. Within the offshore sector, M&M sees AHTS and PSV projects as key areas.