London’s second act based on the city’s expertise in maritime services
Posted on: 8 June 2016
EXECUTIVES from the London Stock Exchange and Maritime London are making a renewed effort to list shipping companies in London — and they are promising that this time will be different.
Their first attempt in 2007 was somewhat successful, with a handful of smaller-sized Greek shipowners listed on AIM, the exchange’s alternative investment market.
Unfortunately, following the financial crisis of 2008, the exchange sat in the trenches and watched its two competing exchanges in New York — and, to a lesser degree, Oslo — winning the lion’s share for shipping equity.
Now it is making a comeback, promoting London as the pre-eminent global centre for maritime services and proximity to international capital, which is just as good as in the US, or even better.
Their implicit pitch is that capital providers in the UK may have a better understanding of the shipping cycle and not be willing to flee the market at the first sign of adversity.
Harry Theochari, head of global shipping at Norton Rose, underlined the industry’s need to seek alternative sources of capital, as new regulations have rendered specialised lending like vessel mortgages expensive.
He said the banking sector had adopted a “negative view of a highly cyclical industry” and “many banks are leaving or not lending”.
Axel Kalinowski (pictured), London Stock Exchange manager, Continental Europe, praised the LSE as a global marketplace that attracts a proportionately larger share of international companies than the New York exchanges.
He also said the exchange has attracted several initial public offerings in 2016, a year in which IPO activity in the US has seized.
The most impassionate argument came from Chris Conway of Citibank, who, along with Mr Theochari, represented Maritime London.
He emphasised the need to attract investors who stick with their investments in good times and bad, and said in bad times, “shipping companies don’t go bankrupt, they bleed to death”.
Source: Lloyd’s List, Tuesday 07 June 2016; by Lambros Papaeconomou