Shipping finance veteran and sometime shipowner Emanuel Anthony (Manny) Kyprios has passed away in London, TradeWinds has learned.

Friends and business associates said he had been in a weakened physical condition since a severe bout of Covid-19 last year. His passing was unexpected by friends who had been in contact in recent days.

Kyprios, 79, leaves a wife and daughter.

Kyprios started his career as a merchant banker in New York but soon shifted to shipping and since 1985 had headed his own OSI Investments as an independent deal arranger.

But he may have been best known as one of the partners behind Millenium Seacarriers.

In recent years, he had taken part in Athens and London-based Seven Capital Maritime Services, whose managing partner Dimitris Gennadios described him as “a partner in spirit”.

“He was more of a mentor for all of us,” Gennadios told TradeWinds.

Millenium Seacarriers was one of the last in the wave of junk bond-funded shipowning ventures of the 1990s that preceded the public equity-funded stock-listing projects of the 2000s.

In 1993, Kyprios and partners Vassilis (Bill) Livanos, Theotokis Milas and Nicholas Cotzias founded the shipowning company Kylco Hellas, which was to become the managing entity for Millenium.

By the time they went on the road — under the name Millenium with a $120m offering for a fleet of 22 bulkers — US high-yield bond investors had already shown eagerness for shipping offerings.

Estonian Shipping and an earlier incarnation of the Clipper group became shareholders in Millenium, alongside Kyprios and his partners in Kylco.

Millenium’s business plan was largely based on annual renewals of time charters for its elderly fleet of mostly handysize ships. That proved unsustainable in the falling markets of the millennial years, and bondholders along with other creditors suffered severe disappointment after Millenium’s bond default and Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2002.

Sources who were involved in the process say Kyprios had been responsible for bringing in Estonian through a key equity investor, Connor O’Brien’s Stanton Capital.

By 2005, after US public markets had largely overcome the fear of shipping they had acquired in a wave of junk bond defaults, Kyprios rejoined Livanos in blank-cheque vehicle Manhattan Maritime Enterprises, which however failed to attract investors.

In the years since then, Kyprios through his OSI had assisted many Greek and other shipowners in raising debt through European and US lenders.

The US-born Kyprios was educated at the University of Pennsylvania and its Wharton School of Finance. He began his career in merchant banking with Bankers Trust but soon switched to shipping finance. Before setting up OSI, he served as head of shipping and transportation for Marine Midland Bank and vice president of international corporate banking and shipping for Manufacturers Hanover Trust.

“No matter how crazy the market got, Manny was always cheerful, always ready to move on to the next project,” said an associate from Kyprios’ Millenium bond workout days. “I never saw a frown on his face.”

Kyprios had remained personally close to former Kylco general counsel Bill Patkos and to another of his former Millenium partners, Theo Milas, until the death of Milas and his wife in an accident last year.

Kyprios is survived by wife Sonia and daughter Seraphina.