More new buildings and more loans at OVB

OVB in Leer performed better than expected last year. The credit volume in the shipping sector grew compared to the previous year.

High unscheduled repayments by shipowners had previously caused the portfolio to shrink significantly (-13%). Many loans were also repaid early last year. At the same time, however, OVB, as one of the most important ship financiers in the country, was able to conclude new business with a total volume of around €400 million because shipowners increasingly ordered new ships again. [ds_preview]

All in all, this led to a 4.8% increase in the shipping loan portfolio to €428 million (previous year: €408 million). If the share of the syndicate partners is added, OVB’s shipping portfolio now amounts to €843 million.

“Our involvement in shipping has grown in line with the bank as a whole,” says OVB CEO Holger Franz. The cooperative bank limits the volume of ship financing to 20% of the total loan portfolio. “For us, 2023 was a very successful year with 23 newbuildings delivered,” says Franz.

OVB promotes Guido Mülder

With effect from January 1, 2024, the Supervisory Board of Ostfriesische Volksbank has appointed Guido Mülder – alongside Georg Alder and Holger Franz – as a further member of the bank’s Executive Board. As part of the business allocation, the former division manager will be responsible for the maritime shipping and inland shipping business on the Management Board in future.

More loans, fewer ships

By contrast, the number of secured ships has fallen sharply due to increased repayments and sales. While there were still 362 in 2021 and 245 last year, OVB now has 196 ships on its books. An almost stable loan volume is therefore spread across fewer but more expensive units. The average ticket size has doubled, reports Guido Mülder, a new member of OVB’s Executive Board since the beginning of the year.

OVB also expects a stable development in the current year. According to Mülder, the bank has already granted loan commitments for a further 35 new buildings in recent months and is currently negotiating a further 25 projects. However, this financing will only appear on the balance sheet when the ships are delivered.

500 ships at OVB

OVB, which is based in the north-west, manages around 500 seagoing vessels with its banking service – almost a third of the German merchant fleet. It primarily finances MPP and heavy-lift freighters, which account for 44% of the portfolio, followed by coasters (26%), container ships (24%), bulkers (11%) and tankers (5%).

OVB also grew in other business areas in the past year. The loan portfolio increased by 4.4% to €2.3 billion. New loan commitments amounted to more than €900 million. There was also a significant increase in deposits, which rose by 7.9% to €2.7 billion. The cooperative bank’s total assets now stand at € 3.7 billion, which is 6.8% above the previous year. The annual result is reported at € 75 million.

In view of the good results, the cooperative bank intends to pay out a special dividend of 9% to its almost 29,000 members.

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