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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Watson Farley News

Photo courtesy of The Maritime Standard

Finance Conference Speakers Take Optimistic View of Shipping Market Trends

The fourth Maritime Standard Ship Finance and Trade Conference, held at Abu Dhabi’s Sheraton Hotel and Resort, was in many ways very different from the preceding three events in this increasingly popular series. While in other years the sense of challenge and adversity was dominant, this year speakers at the one-day conference were generally much more optimistic and upbeat about market prospects, although a number of potential hazards on the road to full recovery were also much in evidence.Conference chairman…

Photo: Danaos Corporation

Danaos Corporation Slashes Debt

Danaos Corporation, a leading international owner of containerships, has announced the consummation of its previously announced debt refinancing , significantly strengthening the Company's capital structure and reducing its outstanding debt by approximately USD 551 million.The debt refinancing strengthens the Company's financial position through the significant debt reduction, reset financial and certain other credit facility covenants, modified interest rates and amortization profiles and the extension of existing debt maturities by approximately five years to December 31, 2023.

Image: Watson Farley & Williams

WFW Advises CMBFL on Sale, Leaseback of 15 Dry Bulker

Watson Farley & Williams (WFW) has advised CMB Financial Leasing (CMBFL) on a US$180.4m sale and leaseback transaction with Star Bulk Carriers Corp, a Nasdaq-listed global shipping company providing worldwide seaborne transportation of dry bulk cargoes.The funds obtained by Star Bulk under this new five-year capital lease of US$180.4m entered into with CMBFL were used to part-finance the cash portion of the consideration with regards to Star Bulk’s acquisition of 15 dry bulk vessels from Norwegian shipowner Songa Bulk ASA.Founded in 2008…

Image: MSC Cruises

MSC Cruises Pact for USD 1.7bln Loan for New Seaside EVO Ships

Cruise liner MSC Cruises has reached an agreement for an EUR 1.5 billion (USD 1.74 billion) financing for two new Seaside EVO class cruise ships.BNP Paribas, Unicredit and Cassa Depositi e Prestiti will provide EUR 1.5bn in financing for two Seaside EVO class passengerships. The financing syndicate of lenders also include SACE SIMEST, the Italian ECA, fully backing the credit line and stabilising the interest rate.The first ship is expected to be delivered in May 2021 and the second in February 2023.

Photo: Consolidated Marine Management, a company of Latsco Shipping Ltd

WFW Advises ING Bank on USD 220mln Nine Vessel Financing

Watson Farley & Williams (WFW) has advised ING Bank, London Branch (ING) in connection with a US$87m increase to a US$131m loan facility originally granted to Latsco Shipping Ltd (Latsco) to finance the construction of five new high-spec MR product tankers.The increase has been used to up the number of modern tankers being financed to nine, the last of which was financed in May 2018.This now takes Latsco to a fleet of 27 vessels, a significant increase over the past three years since it agreed the original loan facility with ING in 2015.

Courtesy Euronav

Euronav Secures Loan for Four Ice-class Suezmaxes

Tanker shipping company Euronav has secured a loan facility providing financing for four ice-class suezmax newbuildings under construction by Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries Co., Ltd., two of which have recently been delivered with the remaining two scheduled for delivery later in 2018.Watson Farley & Williams LLP (WFW) said it acted for Crédit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank in relation to a $173.5 million loan facility for Euronav NV signed on March 22, 2018. The commercial lenders were Crédit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank…

Gary Walsh is a partner in the firm’s Asset Finance Group. Photo WFW

$252m Finance for LNG-Powered Tankers

Watson Farley & Williams (“WFW”) has advised ING Bank (“ING”), as agent, security trustee and the syndicate of lenders on the US$252m financing of the world’s first ever LNG-powered aframax tankers for leading Russian shipowner Sovcomflot Group (“SCF”). The six 114,000dwt, ice-class vessels are being built by Hyundai Samho, with two of the vessels to operate under time charter to Shell for up to ten years. Shell will also provide LNG fuel for all six tankers across north-west Europe and the Baltic.

Photo:  NYK Europe

WFW Advises NYK on LNG Carrier Charter

Watson Farley Williams  (WFW) advised NYK Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha  (NYK) on the execution on 26 January 2018 of its long-term charter contract with EDF LNG Shipping, a subsidiary of the electricity major, Electricité de France (EDF). The contract is for the chartering of a newly built liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier for seven years, with optional extension periods for up to thirteen additional years. WFW also worked closely with the commercial and in-house legal teams at NYK, Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries and EDF on the construction arrangements for the vessel for the project.

Image: NYK Line

Ince & Co Advises EDF on NYK LNG Carrier

EDF LNG Shipping, a subsidiary of EDF group, signed a long term charter contract with the Japanese shipowner NYK on January 26th 2018. The vessel, with a capacity of 174,000 cbm, will be built by the shipyard Hyundai Heavy Industries with delivery expected by spring 2020. Ince & Co supported EDF LNG Shipping in the negotiation and drafting of the time charter contract providing for an initial charter period of seven years which can be further extended to twenty years. This major…

Image: Gigilinis Shipping Group

WFW Advises Italian Shipowners on Partnership with Gigilinis

International law firm Watson Farley & Williams (WFW) advised three leading Italian shipowners -Rimorchiatori Mediterranei, Gesmar and Fratelli Neri – on their partnership agreement with Thessaloniki-based Greek maritime operator Gigilinis Shipping Group. The deal closed on 29 November. The deal represents a strategic milestone in Italian ship owners’ expansion into the Greek and broader Eastern Mediterranean markets, most notably into the key port of Thessaloniki. Rimorchiatori Mediterranei is the leading player in the harbour towage sector in Italy…

Photo: L.G.R. di Navigazione S.p.A

WFW Advises BPM on Navigazione Refinancing

International law firm Watson Farley & Williams (WFW) advised Banca Popolare di Milano S.p.A. (BPM) regarding a US$28.8m loan facility granted to L.G.R. di Navigazione and secured by, inter alia, mortgages over two medium range ice class tankers, the “Cenito” and “Posillipo”. Founded in 1865 by future Italian Prime Minister Luigi Luzzatti, BPM was Italy’s second co-operative bank. It merged with Banco Populare on 1 January 2017, to form Banco BPM, Italy’s third largest retail and corporate banking conglomerate. Naples-headquartered L.G.R.

GPH to Acquire cruise terminal

International law firm Watson Farley & Williams (“WFW”) has advised Turkey-based cruise port operator Global Ports Holding (“GPH”) on the acquisition of stakes in companies managing cruise terminals in Italy. Specifically, GPH acquired stakes in the companies managing the Cagliari (Sardinia), Catania (Sicily) and Ravenna (Emilia-Romagna) cruise ports, previously owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (“Royal Caribbean”), Aloschi&Bassani S.p.A. and Bassani Ravenna S.r.l. Royal Caribbean will retain a minority stake in all three companies and Cagliari…

Francesco Maria di Majo is Counsel in the corporate group, based in Rome Photo WFW

Majo Appointed President of Civitavecchia, Gaeta and Fiumicino Port Authority

International law firm Watson Farley & Williams (“WFW“) is delighted to announce that Rome corporate Counsel Francesco Maria di Majo has been appointed president of the prestigious Port Authority of Civitavecchia, Gaeta and Fiumicino (Lazio Region, Italy). The appointment was confirmed today by Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Mr Graziano Delrio, following approval from the Italian Chamber of Deputies’ Transport Commission on 15 November 2016. The Port Authority of Civitavecchia…

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BIMCO Adopts Ship Financing Term Sheet

In a landmark decision, BIMCO cemented its move into the domain of ship financing with the Documentary Committee’s approval of a standard term sheet for use in ship financing transactions on 17 November 2016. BIMCO President Philippe Louis-Dreyfus said, “I am particularly pleased to see BIMCO taking this important step. BIMCO is the world leader in the production of standard contracts and clauses for the maritime industry. It is only natural that its documentary activities also cover ship financing – an issue which has become increasingly important and challenging over the years…

Cruise Ship in Port Photo WFW

WFW Advises on Cruise Ship "Seven Seas Explorer" Delivery

International law firm Watson Farley & Williams (“WFW”) advised Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank (“CACIB”), SACE S.p.A. (“SACE”) and a syndicate of banks on the delivery of the cruise ship “Seven Seas Explorer” built by the Italian shipyard Fincantieri S.p.A. “Seven Seas Explorer” was delivered to Explorer New Build LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Norwegian Cruise Line Corporation Ltd, on 30th June 2016 and will sail as part of the Regent Seven Seas fleet. The SACE-backed loan facility of US$374 million was used to partially fund the construction of the vessel.

LNG Ship Docked Watson Farley & Williams

WFW Advises Teekay on Major Financing Initiatives

International law firm Watson Farley & Williams LLP (“WFW”) advised long-standing client Teekay on the successful completion of financing initiatives for Teekay Corporation and Teekay Offshore Partners LLP (“TOO”). This included assisting TOO on US$400m of secured bank financing and the raising of US$200m in fresh equity capital along with the deferment of certain bond maturity dates, whilst parent company Teekay Corp completed US$350m of bank financing and raised a further US$100m in equity capital.

Pic by Watson, Farley and Williams.

Brexit: Potential Implications For The Maritime Sector

While the nature of the United Kingdom’s future trading relationship with the European Union (EU) will take some time to become clear, it is important to realise that in the immediate aftermath of the result of the UK’s recent EU referendum, says a report from Watson, Farley and Williams. Nothing has changed in terms of the trading relationship and the movement of people and goods between the EU and the UK and the laws which apply to your maritime business and contractual arrangements.

Hong Kong Trekkers Pledge $59K for Sailors’ Society

140 industry supporters brave the Hong Kong trail in monsoon conditions to raise funds for seafarers in need. Some 140 Sailors’ Society supporters took on a 32km trek along the Hong Kong trail to raise money for the global maritime charity. More used to heat and blue skies, the teams braved strong winds and torrential rain as they hiked across Hong Kong’s country parks, their generous donors pledging HKD548,000 (US$59,000) for their efforts. The event was organised by Sailors’ Society’s Hong Kong Ambassadors Group and sponsored by Lloyd’s Register Hong Kong…

Photo: Marine Money

Marine Money Istanbul Ship Finance Forum

Registration is open for the 10th Annual Marine Money Istanbul Ship Forum on May 22, 2013 at the Swissotel - The Bosphorus. Meet with shipping professionals to hear about how to position your business in these challenging times. The latest issues in Turkish shipping and ship finance will be discussed by industry experts in Istanbul. Confirmed to-date speakers and sponsors include, among others, AlixPartners UK LLP, AKT Law Firm, Besiktas Shipyard, Geden Line, Desan Shipyard-Kaptanoglu Holding…

Seward & Kissel Strengthens with Addition of Partner

Evolving Needs of Private Equity Clients Inspire Move. Seward & Kissel LLP has announced  that veteran finance attorney John Imhof has joined the firm’s leading Maritime and Transportation Finance practice in New York. Mr. Imhof, who comes to Seward & Kissel from Watson, Farley & Williams, brings more than 20 years of experience with domestic and cross-border financings of transportation assets for major banks and other financial institutions. In recent years, he has represented…

Watson, Farley & Williams Opens Office in Dubai

Watson, Farley & Williams (WFW), an international law firm, has opened its 14th office, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The opening is in response to increasing demand from WFW clients in the firm’s key sectors for advice in relation to their business dealings in Dubai and the UAE, and also across the Middle East generally. The UAE is the 11th jurisdiction in which the firm has established a presence and reflects a natural progression, with the firm having an established track record of servicing clients in the region for the last 20 years.

WFW Advises ING Bank on $340m Loan Facility for Euronav

Watson, Farley & Williams (WFW) has advised ING Bank N.V. (ING) as sole bookrunner and facility agent for a syndicate of banks on a $340 million loan facility made available to Euronav NV. The facility is comprised of a $192m term loan facility and a revolving credit facility of up to $148m. Euronav plans to use the funds to refinance four Suezmax tanker vessels, finance the acquisition of four very large crude carrier tankers from Maersk and for general corporate purposes. The ships financed under the facility are registered on Belgian, Greek and French flags.

John Benson

WFW Promotes Two New Partners in New York

Watson, Farley & Williams (WFW), a leading international law firm, is pleased to announce the promotion of two lawyers to partner in its New York office. Corporate lawyer Steven Hollander and shipping finance lawyer John Benson officially joined the partnership from 1 May 2014, and bring the number of partners in the WFW New York office to 11. Their appointments are part of 13 promotions in eight of the firm’s 13 offices as part of the firm’s annual partner promotion round for 2014, and bring the total number of partners in the firm to 133.