The financing situation of medium-sized maritime businesses in Germany has shifted and predominantly deteriorated over the past decade. The situation threatens to have a negative impact on Germany’s location as a maritime hub. On 15 February, the Maritime Finance Research Group (MFiRG) published with financial support from the Capital Markets Union Foundation Project the study
„Unternehmensfinanzierung der maritimen Industrie in Deutschland unter besonderer Berücksichtigung von Asset-Based Finanzierungsmöglichkeiten“.
In the study presented here, the Maritime Finance Research Group (MFiRG) has set itself the goal of systematically examining the financing structure of the maritime industry in Germany, identifying possible gaps and making proposals for stabilising the financing structure.
Results of the research report
The study shows that the majority of the additional financing required has so far come from existing shareholders. The lending practices of the few remaining banks that are still willing to offer financing in the maritime segment are increasingly restrictive. At the same time banks are complaining about overly complex regulatory requirements. Many consider application procedures required by state development banks for SMEs to be too confusing.
German SMEs have limited access to the capital market. They perceive the regulations as too restrictive compared with other stock exchanges. The majority of respondents praised the Oslo stock exchange as exemplary.
Maritime SMEs need additional forms of financing
The study recommends several approaches that can help improve the financing situation of the maritime SME sector in Germany in the short and medium term:
- The central recommendation is the establishment of a credit platform as a new financing instrument that helps medium-sized maritime enterprises to raise outside capital in the capital market in a simplified procedure. For this purpose, smaller loans are bundled in a way that is suitable for the capital market.
- More effective use of government subsidies for green finance, especially in combination with the proposed lending platform.
- In the medium term, creating a regulatory framework for a stock exchange with a maritime segment in Germany similar to that of the Oslo stock exchange. Concerted efforts to establish a stock exchange-friendly investment culture that enables investment banks, brokers, investors and analysts to settle here and cooperate.
- Opening up the Hermes cover scheme for domestic buyers, following the example of other European countries. Ship owners and buyers should have the option of using export guarantees if the ship is to be used across borders.
- A sensible, selective restructuring of the levying of withholding tax on capital gains in order to make the issuing of bonds in Germany more attractive again and to be able to better include foreigners in the group of investors.