41 Evangelos Marinakis, Capital Group
Few in the industry combine long-term thinking with opportunism the way the Greek owner does
Capital has done $5.5bn worth of transactions in the past two years, mostly for greener ships
SOME weekends, Evangelos Marinakis flies to the UK to take in Nottingham Forest’s Saturday match in the Premier League — and is back in Piraeus to watch his beloved Olympiacos FC in action in the Greek Super-League on the Sunday.
Owning two historic football clubs is just one way in which Mr Marinakis keeps busy. He also controls Greece’s biggest media group. He is indisputably in the big league when it comes to shipping, too.
Rather than being daunted by the challenges and uncertainties facing the industry, Mr Marinakis seems positively energised.
“It’s exciting. With all these changes, whether they are geopolitical or environmental, shipping is in the middle,” he says.
“It’s an exciting international business — and we are there to face all these changes.”
In recent years, few in the industry have bettered his ability to combine long-term vision with opportunistic deal-making. Numbers by themselves suggest a degree of hyper-activity.
At the time of writing, his Capital Group controls nearly 100 vessels, exceeding 10.5m dwt and valued at about $9bn. During 2021 and the first 10 months of 2022, it was involved in 75 transactions worth $5.5bn.
The 47 vessel acquisitions among these, including 32 newbuilding orders, can overwhelmingly be classed as investments in greener ships.
Conversely, the 26 disposals were mainly of older tonnage and, characteristically, a sprinkling of smart profit-taking on boxships. Astute asset flipping has, for years, helped the Greek owner to fund his strategic plans.
Likewise, his determination to be among the leaders of shipping’s green transition is laced with pragmatism.
Capital has worked closely with ABS on a range of new construction projects and has contributed to new class society notations recognising decarbonisation technologies.
Orders have included liquefied natural gas- and ammonia-ready very large crude carriers, plus ‘future-proof’ rotor sails-ready medium range tankers and LNG carriers.
On the containership front, the group has begun taking delivery of a programme of 16 new vessels. Among them are a trio of 13,200 teu eco reefer boxships and 13 feederships and feedermax vessels of between 1,800 teu and 2,800 teu that are said to be among the greenest yet to hit the market.
Behind the scenes, Capital is involved in a myriad of projects researching the more promising solutions to reduce shipping’s greenhouse gas footprint.
Outside shipping, Mr Marinakis holds a stake valued at about €250m ($258.4m) in Greek renewables company Terna Energy.
He has also funded a number of substantial real estate projects for green energy-efficient buildings for offices, housing and television/film studios in Greece.
Yet he is also a firm believer in LNG as a transition fuel.
“We want to go green as much as possible and I think LNG will be there for the next 15 to 20 years as the more environmentally friendly fuel until we have something greener, along with the infrastructure for bunkering it,” he says.
That conviction has also been evident in the secondhand market, where Mr Marinakis recently snapped up four ice-class dual-fuelled aframax tankers.
Delivered in 2018 and 2019, they were the first LNG-fuelled aframaxes ever ordered and are among nine secondhand aframax acquisitions by Capital since 2021.
In the past couple of years, Mr Marinakis’s biggest investment has been in the LNG sector, with a total of 14 174,000 cbm newbuildings ordered at Hyundai Heavy Industries and Hyundai Samho.
So far, six have been delivered and acquired by the group’s publicly listed affiliate, Nasdaq-listed Capital Product Partners.
The shipowner’s opportunism was recently seen once again when he acquired a 20-year-old steam turbine LNG carrier for about $30m-plus, then promptly chartered it for five to six months at more than $165,000 per day.
Looking ahead, there is no reason why shipping should become any less exciting for Mr Marinakis.
On the cusp of 2023, he was one of the few owners still sitting on unchartered LNG carrier newbuildings in a sizzling market.
On top of that, he says after years of concentrating primarily on LNG carriers, boxships and tankers, it finally might be time to reinvest in dry bulk. Currently, Capital has four capesizes and a recently acquired kamsarmax.
“For 2023, we are thinking about investing more in dry,” he says, adding: “But if we do, we will do it in scale.”