New dry bulk investor raises almost USD 75 million

Norwegian dry bulk duo Songa Bulk, consisting of Herman Billung and Arne Blystad, has raised close to USD 75 million for investments in dry bulk vessels. Billung and Blystad have both injected their own money into the project, which has now purchased its first vessel.

New Norwegian dry bulk investor Songa Bulk, a partnership between Herman Billung and Arne Blystad, raised close to USD 75 million last week, Herman Billung confirms to ShippingWatch.

The duo aimed for USD 50 to 100 million in a so-called over the counter issue.

According to an investor presentation of the new unit Songa Bulk, the motivation behind the efforts to raise capital for investment is that dry bulk asset values are hovering near rock bottom. Songa Bulk projects that the market for vessel purchases will be particularly beneficent during the next 12 months as shipowners will struggle with deficits as well as challenges related to raising fresh capital before the market recovers.

"Songa Bulk will seek to actively manage the cyclicality of the dry bulk market by investing at historically low levels (target next 12 months) and subsequently focus on returning capital to shareholders through asset sales and/or dividends as the market recovers," writes Songa Bulk in the presentation.

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The document also informs that Arne Blystad as well as Herman Billung are investing their own funds in the project. This is done through Blystad Holding AS, which buys shares in Songa Bulk for USD 15 million, while Billung Bulk AS buys shares for USD 300,000.

It was also revealed, in relation to the presentation, that Songa Bulk has acquired its first vessel, a Chinese-built Kamsarmax of 82,687 dwt from 2008, which was purchased in September 2016 by entity Songa Maru, a subsidiary of Blystad Holding AS. The vessel was acquired for USD 11.1 million and will be transferred to Songa Bulk for the same figure along with the shares in Songa Maru.

In addition to Herman Billung, who has been appointed CEO of Songa Bulk, the company's daily management will be handled by COO Per Kristian Aamlid, who has been with Arne Blystad AS since 2007.

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