Taiwanese liner operator Evergreen Marine Corporation will turn to overseas investors to raise US$300 million in capital to cover the company’s operations.
The company announced on 9 July that it is issuing unsecured convertible bonds to maintain its long-term competitiveness, as well as to secure capital for the future deliveries of newbuildings to modernise its fleet. It is the first time that Evergreen has tapped investors abroad.
Proceeds from the five-year bonds will go towards working capital for bunker purchases, ordering newbuildings, and acquiring vessels on finance lease. The interest rate for the bonds has not been fixed.
Including vessels on finance lease, Evergreen has 61 newbuildings that will be delivered by the end of 2022, comprising ten ships of 23,000TEU, eighteen 12,000TEU, fourteen 2,500TEU and nineteen 1,800TEU ships. The company’s directors said that this capital-intensive undertaking is among the reasons for issuing the bonds.
As a member of Ocean Alliance, the second largest of container shipping alliances, Evergreen said it expects that the newbuildings will boost its competitiveness.
Evergreen added that the newbuildings have reduced fuel consumption and with its accurate shipping schedule, can maintain service standards. The company is the seventh largest container carrier, with a combined capacity of around 1.23 million TEU, from 108 owned ships and 82 chartered vessels.
The bond issue comes after Taiwan’s Ministry of Transportation and Communications disbursed total loans of TW$16.5 billion (US$550 million) to Evergreen and Yang Ming Marine Transport Corporation. As the Covid-19 pandemic batters the global economy, governments have been providing lifelines to liner operators.
The Small & Medium Enterprise Credit Guarantee Fund of Taiwan acts as a guarantor of the loans, which will be issued through Mega International Commercial Bank, Taiwan Cooperative Bank, Hua Nan Bank, Land Bank of Taiwan and E.Sun Bank.