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How to stay on course with yacht finance in the current economic conditions

Business

SuperYachtTimes.com recently spoke with Remco Immink of Ciris Capital about the influence of the credit crunch on the finance of superyachts. Ciris Capital is a company that primarily exists to provide clients with access to loans and other financial arrangements, the current situation obviously has their full attention. In this interview Remco clarifies the position of the banks and explains how business can still be done with the right preparation and know-how in place.

SYT: What is the current position of the banks involved in yacht finance? Are they still active?

Remco Immink: These are good questions and like all good questions there is no simple answer. What we have seen over the last six to eight months is that all banks continue to claim that they are open for new business and have received no internal instructions to do otherwise. The only change that they publicly admit to is that turnaround times are a little longer.

The reality is that the banks which do respond to applications will surprise you with questions that you have never thought of before or set conditions that cannot be fulfilled. At the end of the day this means banks can deny saying no to an application. “We were willing and able to complete the transaction but the client could not fulfill the requirements.” Don’t blame the banker, in other words.

With the limited number of banks and leasing companies that are still related to yacht finance we are in active contact regarding outstanding applications. It seems that these banks are the serious remaining players, although they are also making slower progress than they used to.

SYT: How does Ciris Capital approach new projects?

Remco Immink: We start by getting an overall feeling of the project and issues such as type of yacht, investment and build time. It is crucial to know who the prospects/clients are, have a copy of their passport, understand their general background and business activities, and have an indication of their private means.

Another key issue is to know which other banks the prospects/clients have private or business accounts with. It is especially useful if one of their banking relations is related to a European bank. With respect to personal wealth, it is useful to know whether the activities of the prospects/clients or part of their wealth are based in Western Europe.

Once these basics have been established, we will decide which banks are best to approach for this project and ask them for an indicative term sheet.

If the conditions of one or more banks that are willing and able to produce a term sheet are acceptable to the client, we will decide together which banks to start the credit process with. For the credit process (writing up of the application), we carry out an intensive intake of all the information required in order to avoid having to frequently return to the client.

After the client has approved the write up, this will be presented to the bank. We will take care of monitoring the process and give any further explanations the bank may require.

Beforehand they will look at a new application, some banks stipulate the need for a private banking relationship. Should the client agree, we will arrange a meeting with the bank and make arrangements accordingly. In general this requires a seven-figure deposit in the newly opened private account.

Other banks ask for a good faith deposit before they start working. This will be refunded to the client should the application be rejected for any reason.

SYT: Have the interest rates and the upfront fees changed?

Remco Immink: As mentioned above, applications are a time consuming process in the current environment where bank policies can change by the hour. It is also difficult to obtain clear directions with regard to pricing the transaction. This is mainly due to the fact that money has become more expensive for banks to loan from other banks. Taking this into account, for a loan in the range of 60% to 70% with a term of max 120 months, we calculate an interest rate of euribor/libor plus 2.5% to 3.5%, plus an upfront fee for the bank of 1% to 2% over the loan amount.

SYT: Who pays Ciris Capital for their work?

Remco Immink: For our work we sometimes get paid by the bank and sometimes by the client, depending on the involved bank(s) and needs of the client. In return the Ciris Capital team members will use all their in-depth knowledge of how the banking system works to maximize the chance of a positive outcome. Our long-lasting contacts within the banking network are proving especially valuable in these turbulent times.

For any further questions about yacht finance contact Remco Immink at: [email protected] / +31 30 697 0865

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