Al­pha to raise 410 mln in shipping loan-backed deal

Kathimerini English - - Focus -

Al­pha Bank is to raise about $510 mil­lion (410 mil­lion euros) from a deal backed by shipping loans, one of the first of its kind in Europe for nearly a year, fi­nance in­dus­try and Al­pha sources said yes­ter­day. The fundrais­ing, ar­ranged and fi­nanced by Cit­i­group, bun­dles to­gether ap­prox­i­mately 35 in­di­vid­ual shipping loans with an av­er­age life of two-and-a-half years with a five-year fi­nal ma­tu­rity, in­dus­try sources said. The deal rep­re­sents ef­forts by in­dus­try play­ers to seek ways to raise money and plug a multi-bil­lion dol­lar fund­ing gap, caused by sev­eral Euro­pean banks pulling out of the shipping sec­tor or scal­ing back ex­po­sure in re­sponse to tougher reg­u­la­tions after the fi­nan­cial cri­sis. “Se­cu­ri­ti­za­tion trans­ac­tions are part of Al­pha’s pro­gram. They are a tool to dif­fer­en­ti­ate the bank’s fund­ing sources,” one Al­pha Bank source said. Sources told Reuters in June that Al­pha Bank, Greece’s fourth-largest lender, planned to se­cu­ri­tize about 1 bil­lion euros of shipping loans and ex­pected to raise about 500 mil­lion euros in the trans­ac­tion. In­dus­try sources said the pri­vate deal was a se­cured fi­nanc­ing with the loans to be placed in a spe­cial pur­pose ve­hi­cle. Al­pha Bank will act as the ser­vicer of the loans, which in­clude fi­nanc­ings pro­vided for dry bulk and oil tanker ships. The size of the un­der­ly­ing port­fo­lio was $850 mil­lion, they said. “What it does is it frees up Al­pha Bank’s books to en­able them to start pro­vid­ing new fi­nances,” one fi­nance in­dus­try source said.

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