22 Evangelos Marinakis, Capital Group

Hyperactive owner becomes the first Greek to order very large ammonia carriers and CO2 carriers

04 December 2023

Marinakis has grand strategies for the future, including transforming public affiliate Capital Product Partners into a pure-play gas shipping company, but his rise has also been fuelled by profitable deals

EVERY year seems to be a hyperactive one for Evangelos Marinakis.

He somehow juggles one of the world’s most headline-worthy shipping businesses with the running of first-division football clubs in Greece and the UK, Greece’s largest media group and a bit of dabbling in local politics for good measure.

Yet even by his standards, 2023 has felt like a year in which he put down a clear marker as one of the industry’s movers and shakers.

At the Nor-Shipping event in June, the Greek owner had said that focusing on energy efficiency and investing in liquefied natural gas dual-fuel propulsion is the only way to significantly decarbonise the industry in the near future.

Much of the year seemed to be an exercise in walking the walk and not simply talking the talk.

During the first half of 2023, his Capital Maritime group ordered six LNG dual-fuel suezmaxes and two dual-fuel long range two product tankers in China.

Capital Gas booked an additional two LNG carrier newbuildings from Hyundai Heavy Industries, bringing the company’s rolling programme of LNG carrier newbuildings to 18, including eight already on the water as of the end of 2023.

On top of this, Marinakis teamed up with Idan Ofer to order four very large ammonia carriers of 88,000 cu m in Korea. Each of the owners has two firm VLACs on order, plus two options.

The Greek owner also ordered the world’s largest liquid CO2 carriers — vessels of 22,000 cu m — for delivery in 2025 and 2026.

All these are part of Marinakis’s efforts to amass a “trailblazing” fleet to differentiate the group as the green transition of the industry begins to bite.

Altogether, over the past three to four years, the owner has invested in close to 60 newbuildings of various types that have a common cause in offering much-reduced carbon emissions.

Language used at the time of placing the historic CO2 carrier order suggests that Marinakis eyes that market, in particular, as one in which a leading role is up for grabs.

As well as strategically positioning himself for the shape of things to come, Marinakis is not one to let more humdrum opportunistic deals pass him by — nor to shy away from a grand deal.

Thus, he has been one of the few LNG carrier owners happy to snap up older steam turbine tonnage, which he has been trading very lucratively in a number of instances.

At the same time, he recently unveiled a plan for affiliated Nasdaq-listed company Capital Product Partners to be transformed into Capital New Energy Carriers through the $3.1bn acquisition of the owner’s remaining 11 LNG carrier newbuildings. 

The makeover will include granting the public company options, too, on Marinakis’s VLACs and the CO2 carriers and “gradually” selling its fleet of 15 containerships, leaving a pure-play gas shipping entity.

Marinakis’s deal-making power was impressively on display in plans for funding the transaction, including fully backstopping a $500m rights offering to unitholders and issuing a $220m seller’s credit that is not repayable until mid-2027.

Marinakis also appeared in the Top 100 in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022.