Ship manager Columbia Group has boosted financing options for clients through an investment in Germany’s Ahorn Capital.

Group subsidiary Columbia Finance Solutions (CFS) has bought an unspecified stake in the Hamburg-based platform for institutional and professional investors.

The partnership will allow Columbia to provide shipowners with flexible financing options for fleet expansion and individual projects, the companies said.

In turn, Ahorn will tap into Columbia’s market access, internal asset expertise and extensive know-how.

Ahorn Capital structures direct investment opportunities for investors, family offices and high-net-worth individuals.

Investments are securitised and listed, meaning assets are converted into bankable, transferable and tradable investment products.

Henry Behne and Hendrik Stellamanns will run Ahorn as managing directors.

Mark O’Neil, president and chief executive of Columbia Group, welcomed the move.

He said CFS can now tap into Ahorn’s structuring expertise and access to family offices and wealthy investors.

Equity or debt provided

“The partnership will allow us to provide turnkey solutions to our clients and provide part, or all, of the equity or debt piece on any given project,” O’Neil added.

Behne said the deal cements the investment strengths of Ahorn with the market reach and expertise of the Columbia Group.

“We can assist Columbia’s clients and partners by structuring deals and providing fitting financing options for them,” he added.

Columbia has been active in expanding its operations through partnerships in recent months.

Earlier this month, Columbia Shipmanagement (CSM) said it was ready to pour millions of dollars into the establishment of a tanker-focused management unit in Greece.

Outsiders have been invited to take a stake in the new venture, to be called the CSM Hellas Tanker Management Centre of Excellence.

In March, CSM expanded operations in France and Italy by sealing a joint venture with Sea World Management (SWM).

And the Cyprus-based company has signed a memorandum of understanding with International Maritime Industries, a shipbuilding joint venture between oil giant Saudi Aramco, Lamprell, VLCC owner Bahri and Hyundai Heavy Industries.

French Navy agreement

Before that, CSM agreed on a pioneering anti-piracy security deal with the French Navy.

The ship manager revealed a “voluntary naval cooperation protocol” was signed with the navy’s Maritime Information Cooperation & Awareness centre in December 2021.

Additional security will be provided in high-risk areas to more than 275 CSM ships.

CSM has also set up a finance company to spearhead a fresh drive into the Italian market and develop a new model for Italian shipowners seeking to re-enter the sector.

All this followed deals to add more than 100 offshore vessels to its joint venture CSM Saudi Arabia since its August 2021 launch.