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UPDATES AND ARTICLES
     
  1st December 2008 - STAR MARITIME
 

Nordic bank’s loan exposure modest

NORDIC banking group Nordea says it has only a “modest” loan exposure to the hard-hit dry bulk and container shipping segments.

The dry-bulk market has been hit especially hard in the global financial crisis, with rates plummeting after a sharp slowdown in demand and a near halt in access to loans for carriers.

The Baltic Dry index, which tracks the development in freight rates, has dropped more than 90% to 804 points, from an all-time high in May this year of 11,793 points.

Nordea said it currently saw a slight improvement in the dry-bulk market, with some more shipments taking place.

“Nordea has a modest exposure to the container ship and dry-bulk market,” Carl Steen, head of Nordea’s shipping and offshore unit, said at a shipping seminar in Stockholm.

“Nordea has a very diversified exposure against all segments within the shipping and offshore industry,” he said.

Steen said exposure to container shippers amounted to 2.2% and exposure to dry-bulk shipping 11.8% of the division’s total lending.

Nordea also said although values in the container shipping segment had not dropped as much as in the dry-bulk business, the group expected those values to continue falling.

Nordea, the fourth largest lender to the shipping and offshore industries, in terms of credit exposure, said its shipping and offshore loan books constituted 3% and 1.2%, respectively, of its total lending.

It said its shipping borrowers were mainly large, transparent and, primarily, listed companies with “strong ownership and professional management.”

“We consider our credit portfolio to be in a healthy condition,” Steen said. — Reuters

“Many of the segments we finance, such as tankers and offshore, continue to enjoy satisfactory earnings,” he added. — Reuters

   
 

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