Chinas’ Minsheng Financial Leasing Company (MSFL), co-founded in 2008 by the China Minsheng Banking Corporation and the Tianjin Port Free Trade Zone Investment Company, appears to be behind a number of recent container ship orders.
Contrary to earlier reports which suggested Hong Kong Asset Management to be the financier, MSFL turned out to be behind orders placed in August for three +18,000 teu containerships contracted at DSME Shipyard of South Korea. The three vessels will add to an earlier trio of sisters ordered by Bank of Communications Financial Leasing and all six units are believed to be earmarked for service with MSC.
In addition, MSFL this month placed orders for four ships at AVIC Weihai Shipyard. So far, not much is known about these orders, but the vessels are believed to be 2,300 teu container vessels for delivery between August 2014 and February 2015.
It is known that the Hamburg-based Schulte Group was in talks with AVIC Weihei for a series of ships of this size about one year ago. At the time, Schulte is believed to have suggested to co-own the ship with the yard or with a third-party financier. Last year, the Germans also teamed up with the investment bankers of JP Morgan and jointly ordered a series of eight 2,300 teu ships at Zhejiang Yangfan.
It is therefore not known, whether Schulte is still involved in the recent orders at AVIC Weihei. A constellation under which Minsheng Financial Leasing owns the ships and under which Schulte acts as managers, could be one possible scenario.