66. Evangelos Marinakis, Capital Group

Big-time player gets in early across the tanker, dry bulk and container sectors

14 December 2017

EVANGELOS Marinakis was voted ‘Greek Shipping Personality of the Year’ at the 2017 Lloyd’s List Greek Shipping Awards after a mercurial year both inside and outside the shipping industry.

His Capital Group expanded significantly across the tanker, container and dry bulk sectors, with about $1bn of new investments, bringing the owned and affiliated fleet to more than 70 vessels.

Whether Mr Marinakis will emerge ahead of the curve with his latest moves will not become apparent for a while, but the least that can be said is he remains one of the few big-time players able to be truly counter-cyclical in an industry where cash reserves have generally been run down by years of market attrition.

The very large crude carrier segment is one that has clearly caught the shipowner’s eye. The group owns six VLCCs, all built since 2010. 

Around the turn of last year, it chartered in another four on two-year charters. More recently, the owner quietly placed an order with Samsung for four firm and four optional tankers of 320,000 dwt. Refund guarantees were still a pending issue overhanging the big order as this year’s Top 100 was published.

At the same time, Mr Marinakis splashed about $170m or more on five 10,000 teu containerships from the former Hanjin Shipping fleet. Since purchasing his first boxships, a pair of 1,700 teu feeders in 2010, he has acquired a total of 26 modern container vessels, including 17 newbuildings, mainly in the post-panamax segment. Of these, 19, with an aggregate capacity of about 130,000 teu, are still in the managed fleet.

On the dry bulk side, Mr Marinakis offered a reminder that he is also an astute trader in the sales and purchase market. After quickly amassing five new capesize purchases, two of these were sold shortly after their acquisition, realising a return for the owner of more than 50% in just a few months.

For all that, he has also carefully nurtured the group’s commercial and technical reputation for the long term and has also been stalwart in his support for Capital Product Partners LP, the Nasdaq-listed master limited partnership in which Mr Marinakis owns a stake of about 20%.

CPLP’s fleet of tankers and container vessels are chartered under medium- to long-term charters with mainly blue chip charterers. The company has a strong balance sheet when compared with most public shipping companies, with net debt to capitalisation of less than 29% at mid-2017.

Its financial clout was underlined recently with the refinancing of its debt with a new $460m credit facility led by a clutch of top European banks.

In Greece, Mr Marinakis is probably best known as the owner of Greek football champions Olympiacos and this year also acquired former European Cup winners Nottingham Forest in the UK.

However, he also became one of the country’s foremost media barons with the June 2017 acquisition of Lambrakis Media Group. He now controls some of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, as well as a 22% stake in Mega TV.

Mr Marinakis has made it clear he considers shipping success as a springboard for investing in the Greek economy and for philanthropic activities as well.

His own philanthropy has focused heavily on children and refugees. “Our achievements in shipping give us the power to try our very best to contribute to our society,” he says.   

Mr Marinakis also appeared in the Top 100 in 201020112012201320142015 and 2016.