Greek shipping still coming to terms with the sale of lender

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Greek shipping is still coming to terms with the takeover of its largest lender.

The swift buyout of troubled Credit Suisse by compatriot bank UBS on Sunday has left many questioning the future of the enlarged bank’s shipping interests.

Credit Suisse has been the largest bank financier for Greek shipping since 2016, its Greek portfolio worth $5.2bn as of May last year, according to data from Athens-based Petrofin Research. Globally, Credit Suisse is the 10th largest shipping bank, according to Petrofin data, with a total portfolio estimated at $10bn, while UBS has a small $200m exposure to the shipping sector.

“UBS appears more conservative regarding shipping investments,” brokers BRS noted in a new report.

“The move could limit the amount of lending available to shipowners, as Credit Suisse’s new owner may not deem shipping finance a core activity,” a report from chartering platform Shipfix warned.

Arctic Securities suggested that over time, it would not be surprising if UBS turned its focus to lowering the risk of its overall portfolio. This could point to less focus on shipping, which is clearly defined as a non-core area for UBS.

“UBS is not a well-known shipping bank. Therefore, its ability to understand and support shipping finance is questionable,” Ted Petropoulos, head of Petrofin Research, told Greek newspaper Naftemporiki, adding: “The obvious expectation is that the strategic model of the combined banks will be thoroughly re-evaluated, which may hurt shipping finance.”

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