Tomini Shipping is in discussions with Chinese leasing companies to secure $100m in financing to cover six bulkers it has on order at Chinese yards.

“We are talking to two leasing companies right now,” chief executive Nitin Mehta told TradeWinds on the sidelines of the Marine Money Gulf Ship Finance Forum on Thursday last week.

The financing is to cover three 64,000-dwt vessels being built at Cosco Shipping Heavy Industry's Yangzhou yard and three 82,000-dwt ships on order at Taizhou Kouan Shipbuilding.

Mehta revealed it is not the first time privately-owned Tomini has financed vessels through Chinese leasing schemes.

$50m deal

In December, the company lined up a $50m deal with the leasing arm of China Construction Bank (CCB) to cover four recently delivered ultramax bulkers.

Mehta described the move as a refinancing, as the vessels were originally financed by a United Arab Emirates bank.

“We moved the financing across to CCB as the local bank was not a shipping bank, so we did not see any new opportunities to grow further with them,” he said.

Mehta was full of praise for the professionalism of the Chinese leasing companies and the speed at which they work.

“They are very commercially minded and they move very quickly. Our first leasing deal went very smoothly. We closed the whole thing within eight weeks,” he said.

While Tomini’s first deal with a Chinese leasing company was smoothly executed, Mehta said it is best to approach leasing companies through a local intermediary who can make the necessary introductions. This is especially important for private companies.

Local contacts

“In our case, it was the shipyard that provided the introduction. The leasing companies feel more comfortable working with a company that is unknown to them if they can see that other companies are comfortable doing so,” he explained.

Imtiaz Shaikh, chairman of Tomini Shipping Photo: Tomini Shipping

Tomini’s main shareholders are its chairman, ­Imtiaz Shaikh, and his family. The company started out as the shipping arm of the family’s Pakistan-based cotton trading business.

Focused exclusively on the dry bulk sector, it currently has seven supramax and ultramax bulkers in service.

It recently sold several older bulkers ahead of taking delivery of the newbuildings that are currently under construction in China. Delivery of these will begin within the next few months.

All ships are commercially managed out of Denmark ­by ­Alpina Chartering.