As of 1 April, Damen Shipyards Group will start a specialised Financial Services division. This unit will support clients in the financing of new ships by means of both operational and financial lease constructions.
In itself it is not new that Damen assists its clients in attracting financing for new ships. This has been happening for thirty years. ‘However, demand for lease solutions is increasing,’ explains Jan Willem van Helden, managing director of Damen Financial Services. ‘By making it a separate entity within the group, we can work with external investors, banks and specialists to optimise our offering on both a large and a smaller scale, with ships and services as one package.’
The advantage for Damen’s customers is said to be that they can treat their capital investment as operational costs (OPEX). For Damen, the extra service means that a broader package, including maintenance, is offered, so that, for example, better management can be done towards a more sustainable use of the ships. Van Helden: ‘Ship-as-a-Service and circularity in shipbuilding come a step closer. Moreover, the new service means that, from a governance perspective, we have a better overview of how the financing works.’
The working method of the new division opens the way to new business models for Damen Shipyards Group. ‘In the past, we would first sell a ship and then support our customer with the financing structure,’ explains Van Helden. ‘In the new set-up, the operating structure and financial framework are created first, after which customers are approached to purchase ships. This generally includes a long term, low risk element such as a concession or charter contract.’
Damen expects to be able to announce the first tangible projects of the new division shortly.