June 15 - Hamburg-based asset management company Ernst Russ and specialist investment group, Ecofin Holdings, have established Elbe Financial Solutions (EFS), an international investment services firm focused on the maritime and infrastructure sectors.

"While banks want to significantly reduce the volume of their shipping loans, an increasing number of experienced investors are expressing an interest in acquiring such loans," says Bernard Lambilliotte, co-founder of Ecofin Holdings and vice chairman of Ecofin Ltd.

One of the firm's main objectives will be to enable banks to outsource their exposures to shipping loans, thereby providing balance sheet relief. EFS will assist institutional investors and specialised investment funds in gaining exposure to such loan portfolios. EFS will also supply solutions to loan administration and to operational requirements from the underlying ship assets.

Ecofin Group's past experience in structuring investments in the energy and infrastructure sectors will contribute to EFS' investment process, while Ernst Russ will provide its expertise of ship management and administration, including its knowledge of due diligence processes on shipping assets and chartering strategy, to the venture.