This thesis is aim at comparing three ship financing systems - German KG, Korean SIC, and Belgian shipping NV. Also, its purpose is to find the alternatives for three systems.
First of all, their basic system is similar. Through their ship fund or ship’s certificate, they attract the investors and then raise the capital for acquiring the vessels. However, in a definition, the types are different. German KG is a limited liability partnership under German Tax Act Belgian Shipping NV is a public limited liability company based on The Act of 16 June 2006.
Next, in respect of the history, the motivation of both German KG and Korean SIC are similar. German KG originated from the situation after the World War Ⅱ. And Korean SIC, it established for overcoming the results of the 1997 economic crisis. Since the system was established in mid-1970s, German KG has been sustaining the good position for 30 years. For example, it has no default record. On the one hand, as the 1st Asian Ship Fund, the history of Korean SIC is around 6 years. It also has been attracting the investors steadily and developing. For instance, recently, some foreign investors have attended in SIC. In contrast with both systems, Belgian Shipping NV results from the upgraded Belgian securitization regulatory. Also, it is in the start up phase. The first IPO of Belgian Shipping NV will start on 15th May 2008.
Basically, the level of return in the three systems is similar. It adds up to around 6~9%. Also, 100% financing is possible of the shipowners is possible in all systems. However, the present problem of them is different.
First, in the case of German KG, its cost is reasonable. However, it is not competitive. Therefore, Singapore MFI is the threat of German KG because the cost of the Singapore MFI is half of that of German KG. In addition, the high ratio of container ship in German KG also dangerous. At the present, the demand of bulker is higher than that of container ship respectively. The worse thing is that this trend will be maintaining.
Second, in the case of Korean SIC, it also faces the threat of Singapore MFI. Especially, in respect of geographic factor, Singapore MFI is the strong competitor. In addition, the tax benefit and tax policy of Korean SIC are weaker than that of German KG and Belgian Shipping NV. The main tax benefit such as the tonnage tax and tax exemption has the available period. Moreover, the possibility of principal loss result also exists. Therefore, in the position of the investors, it is not stable benefit. Also, although Korea is one of the best shipbuilding nations in the world, utilizing SIC is hard to the Korean small ship builders.
Finally, in the case of Belgian Shipping NV, the access of ship financing market is not fast. It is just the initiate stage. In addition, it raises the capital through IPO. It means that Belgian Shipping NV is easily influenced by the external factors. Additionally, the issuing companies are exposed to the lose control situation.
However, the three systems have the possibility to cope with their own difficult situation.
First, German KG already got the position of the advanced financing tool. Also, it has been sustained for 30 years. The interest of investors also has been maintained. In addition, the type of shipping IPO has appeared as the complementary financing tool for institutional investors. Therefore, if the types of both shipping IPO and traditional German KG closed-end fund are combined, German KG can attract the more investors. Also, in the case that the German KG is established in Singapore through the branch, it will also helpful because the cost will also be reduced. For diversifying German KG, collaborating Korean SIC can be the good solution. Korea is good at shipbuilding. Therefore, when the cooperating between both shipping financing systems is performed with ordering the ship in Korea, it will also solve the cost problem.
Second, the recent investment boom is very favourable to Korean SIC. Therefore, Korean Government should secure the tax benefit for the stable position of Korean SIC. Originally, the establishment of Korean SIC is based on the supporting of Korean Government. Therefore, if Korean Government establish the permanent tax benefit system and enhance the access of various shipbuilders, it can guarantee the higher income of investors as well as strong shipbuilding base. Also, it is essential to build the strategy for attracting foreign shipowners by utilizing the position of strong shipbuilding country.
Finally, Belgian NV is only in the start up phase. However, it is the first try in Belgium. Therefore, for investors, it should provide the rapid appreciation. Because it can make the investors satisfy. Also, after finished the IPO, the accurate record is so important. It will be helpful the next IPO of Belgian Shipping NV and its investors. Establishing plan in the global perspectives is also essential.
In conclusion, to deal with and cope with any maritime situation, the ship financing system should secure the return of investors and reduce the debt of shipowners. Therefore, the tax system and related policy should be favourable to concerning parties in ship financing system. It means that it needs more flexible. Thus planning strategy of ship financing should be performed in global perspective and long term. Korean SIC is a Ship Investment Company under Korean SIC Act