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CIT Maritime Finance Provides $55MM Credit Facility to Tanker Solutions

April 09, 2014, 07:35 AM
Filed Under: Marine

CIT Group Inc. announced that CIT Maritime Finance provided a $55 million senior secured credit facility to Tanker Solutions LLC, a joint venture between Prime Tanker Management and Castlelake, L.P. The facility supports the purchase of a fleet of four modern LR1 (long-range) product tankers. Financing from CIT was provided by CIT Bank, the U.S. commercial bank subsidiary of CIT. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“We’re pleased to extend our lending relationship with Tanker Solutions, having helped finance the acquisition of a LR1 product tanker in 2013,” said Svein Engh, managing director and group head of CIT Maritime Finance. “Prime and Castlelake are experienced participants in the petrochemical industry and marine transportation. We look forward to further building this relationship.”

Michael Chalkias, co-CEO and co-Founder of Prime Tanker Management, said, “The long-term demand/supply balance of seaborne clean petroleum products transportation is favorable for the foreseeable future, driven mainly by export oriented refineries being relocated progressively further away from demand centers, as well as increasing U.S. refined oil products exports. These structural industry changes and regional dynamics will further support long haul trades, and consequently, demand for LR1s. This financing provided by CIT allows us to further expand Tanker Solutions’ fleet, which in combination with Prime’s wider LR1 platform, results in commercially controlling one of the world’s largest fleets of LR1s trading in clean petroleum products. We look forward to building and expanding further this relationship.”

Luke Beltnick, managing director of Castlelake, L.P., said, “Castlelake has invested more than $400 million in the energy/petrochemical industry through 14 investments in ethanol plants, E&P companies, oil refiners, pipeline companies and offshore rigs. This transaction allows us to continue growing our portfolio with a great partner in Prime Tanker Management. CIT’s ability to execute this transaction in a timely and efficient manner is why they are so well regarded in the maritime sector.”

Prime Tanker Management (Prime) is a leading international ship management company, based in Athens, Greece, focused on the commercial and technical management of product tankers. Prime Tanker Management, Inc., currently manages 26 product tankers and 7 LPGs through its affiliate Prime Gas Management. Prime has established an excellent reputation in the international shipping industry for operating and maintaining a fleet with high standards of performance, reliability and safety.

Castlelake, formerly known as TPG Credit, was founded in August 2005 by Rory O’Neill in partnership with TPG Capital as a silent minority partner. In August 2013, TPG Credit was renamed Castlelake. The name was changed to create a distinct identity and better reflect the firm. Castlelake connects the firm’s heritage with its future. Castles are found throughout Europe which is where the partners have done a significant amount of investing since the start of their careers, and lakes are common to Minnesota, the firm’s headquarters.

CIT Maritime offers senior secured loans, sale-leasebacks and bareboat charters to owners and operators of oceangoing cargo vessels including tankers, bulkers, container ships, car carriers, as well as offshore vessels and drilling rigs.

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