Cash dash underway

Pioneer Marine appears to be closing in on the cash it needs to finance a series of bulkers that are under construction in China.

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In an interview with TradeWinds the Singaporean owner’s chief executive, Pankaj Khanna, said his company intends to fund the newbuilding programme with syndicated loans.

If all goes according to plan Khanna noted the campaign should conclude in the fourth-quarter and pointed out that the terms of freshly-minted bank debt will likely mirror those of facilities secured earlier this year.

Last week Pioneer said it landed a $72m loan backed by DVB and ABN AMRO in June. The facility, which is secured by eight of its handysize bulkers, bears interest at Libor plus a margin and boasts a five-year tenor.

In addition it recently struck a $47m loan agreement with CIT Finance. The terms of this transaction were similar to those of the facility it lined up back in June but was secured by four of its handysizes and one handymax.

Observers say they wouldn’t be surprised to see Pioneer seek a New York listing shortly after its newbuilding programme is financed provided freight rates rally since Khanna has been outspoken about his interest in a fundraiser once these milestones are met.

Today Khanna said he isn’t in a rush to tap the capital markets since the owner has lined up loans with relative ease and boasts private equity backing but acknowledged he is interested in pursuing a float that could provide Pioneer with ammunition for further expansion.

According to a recent earnings report Pionner currently oversees a fleet of 27 bulkers. Of these, 14 are 38,400-dwt newbuildings under construction at Yangzhou Guoyu Shipyard and Chinese compatriot Taizhou Sanfu Ship Engineering. Delivery is due in 2015 and early 2016.