61. Evangelos Marinakis, Capital Maritime & Trading

With capesize moves, owner is now firing on all fronts

18 December 2016

OVER the past year or so, Evangelos Marinakis has surely consolidated his reputation for being among the industry players able to seal positive deals, even in tough times for shipping and financial markets.

The latest notice of this was a flurry of capesize acquisitions in autumn 2016 that could be extended, as the Greek owner was reportedly looking at further buys in the dry bulk sector.

By the end of November, his Capital Maritime & Trading company had already splashed about $110m on five modern capes from Korean, Japanese and German owners.

Capital is making its countercyclical reinvestment in dry bulk after selling off a substantial fleet of bulkers in timely fashion during the booming market conditions prior to the financial crash. But in the meantime, the Greek owner is still expanding his footprint in tankers and has also established a significant presence in the container shipping sector.

After re-entering the container space in 2010 with the purchase of two 1,700 teu feeder vessels, another 19 boxships have been acquired, all but two of these as newbuildings. Most have been post-panamaxes and 10 of these have been dropped down to Nasdaq-listed Capital Product Partners, in which Capital is general partner.

Another five, though, were acquired together with US-based investment fund Monarch Alternative Capital as a partner and were subsequently sold at a profit, which has been a rarity among funds’ recent joint ventures in shipping.

This will have enhanced Mr Marinakis’ image on Wall Street as an effective shipping rainmaker.

In its move into container shipping, the group has avoided any serious mis-steps, whereas others have stumbled as the market has turned against boxship owners. The market sighed in relief when Capital Product last summer revealed a less damaging than expected rate renegotiation with Hyundai Merchant Marine, charterer of five of the containerships.

At the same time, 12 new tankers have been added to the group fleet, including eight more medium range tankers, two very large crude carriers and two aframaxes. The latter pair of ice-class tankers were acquired as resales at Daehan Shipbuilding in 2016 and chartered for five years to Texas-based oil company Tesoro.

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Mr Marinakis’ tanker interests now span 41 vessels of 4m dwt, including the public company’s fleet.

Overall, the group — which has about $3bn of managed shipping assets on its books — has been expanding its portfolio of prominent charterers that includes the likes of BP, Exxon, Maersk, CMA CGM, Cosco and many other top names.

Commercial relations are founded on superior technical performance of the group’s vessels, with the average rate of observations or deficiencies after inspections as low as 0.4%.

Capital has also been a valued technical partner in recent projects such as ABS’ Smart Bearing Solution testing and a taskforce together with LR and DSME to develop LNG as a fuel for ultra large containerships.

Mr Marinakis’ private company has a strong commercial as well as technical profile and has frequently stepped in to support Nasdaq-listed Capital Product with at- or above-market charters. Capital Maritime’s net debt to capitalisation at mid-2016 was just 14%.

The shipowner has added to his extensive activities outside shipping by successfully bidding for one of Greece’s four national television broadcast licences. His company Alter Ego tendered the winning €73.9m ($78.7m) offer.

Mr Marinakis also appeared in the Top 100 in 20102011201220132014 and 2015.