The South Korean state-owned bank’s Ocean Value-up Fund Program was introduced in 2015 with the aim of supporting small and medium sized shipping companies by helping them build new vessels and purchase secondhand units.
The Ocean Value-up Fund Program has supported 12 projects since its inception, and KTB has been actively looking to tie up more projects with foreign shipowners.
KTB has proposed Japan’s Uni-Asia as a suitable partner to benefit from the fund.
Alternative investment firm Uni-Asia’s shipowning arm is Uni-Asia Shipping, which operates dry bulk carriers. As at end-April 2017, Uni-Asia Shipping operated a fleet of nine bulk carriers with capacity ranging between 28,300-37,000 dwt.
The Uni-Asia group also has businesses in property investment and management, and hotel operations.
Under the MOU, KDB will provide up to 70% of ship financing for Uni-Asia, with the remaining 30% to be arranged by Uni-Asia itself. KTB will provide the necessary services to establish and afterwards manage the investment fund.
Uni-Asia was delisted from the Singapore Exchange (SGX) in early June as part of the group's ongoing restructuring by way of a scheme of arrangement. Upon completion of the restructuring, Uni-Asia will become wholly-owned by NewCo Group, an investment holding firm incorporated in January this year.