NOVEMBER 3, 2014 — CIT Group Inc. (NYSE: CIT) reports that CIT Maritime Finance has provided $64 million in senior secured credit facilities to Tanker Solutions III, LLC, a joint venture between Prime Tanker Management (Prime) and funds managed by Castlelake, L.P. The facilities support the purchase of up to five long-range (LR1) product tankers, three of which have already been acquired. Financing from CIT was provided by CIT Bank, the U.S. commercial bank subsidiary of CIT. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
"We are thrilled to provide this new financing to Tanker Solutions III, after previously providing nearly $70 million to the joint venture over the last two years in support of multiple LR1 product tanker acquisitions," said Svein Engh, Group Head and Managing Director of CIT Maritime Finance. "Our knowledge of maritime finance, combined with Prime and Castlelake's deep expertise in the petrochemical industry, has proven to be the basis of a successful and growing relationship."
Michael Chalkias, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Prime Tanker Management, said, "This investment broadens the partnership between Prime and Castlelake and allows us to gain further scale for our joint LR1 platform. This transaction comes at an opportune time in the marine transportation sector. Refinery dynamics have shifted to favor product tankers as American, Middle Eastern and Indian refinery capacity has increased. CIT's financial support has enabled us to advance the growth strategy we share with Castlelake. We look forward to further collaboration with CIT."
Luke Beltnick, Partner and Portfolio Manager at Castlelake, L.P., said, "We are pleased to continue to develop our joint portfolio of LR1 tankers with Prime Tanker Management, adding to our existing investments in the energy and petrochemical industry. CIT is an experienced maritime lender with a sophisticated understanding of the market trends that underpin our investment in this sector. Their insights and dedication to creating a robust financial solution for this transaction were apparent every step of the way."
Prime Tanker Management Inc., based in Athens, Greece, 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. prime-marine.net
Castlelake, L.P. is a global private investment firm focused on investments in alternative assets, sub-performing loans, corporate special situations and dislocated industries, and is an experienced leader in aircraft ownership and servicing. Castlelake manages approximately $4.7 billion in assets.
CIT Maritime Finance offers senior secured loans, sale-leasebacks and bareboat charters to owners and operators of oceangoing cargo vessels, including tankers, bulkers, container ships, car carriers, and offshore vessels and drilling rigs. cit.com/maritime