November 12 - Intermarine plans to buy up to 15 new vessels by 2012, raising up to USD150 million with the help of its new Asset Management Platform (AMP).

After strengthening its presence in Europe by opening two offices, one in Hamburg, Germany, and one at Zeist, Netherlands, the company, owned by US investment fund New Mountain Capital, plans to lever the current weakness in ship values and newbuilding prices to expand its fleet.

Twenty percent of the funds will be sponsored by Intermarine/New Mountain, with 80 percent being raised by institutional investors

The group plans to add between ten and fifteen vessels with combined lifting capacities of up to 800 tonnes, reducing its dependence on chartered tonnage.

"At this moment of consolidation the shipping industry is offering interesting possibilities, " said Intermarine's President and ceo Andre Grikitis.

The APM will operate under Stefan Zinecker, Europe cfo, and Dr. Jens Rohweder, md business development, both newly appointed.

The global financial crisis meant ship financing in Germany remained a "closed ship," said Zinecker, "but in the meantime this gap is increasingly filled by offers from Asia."

He said that several different ships had already been offered by shipyards via brokers.

Management of the new tonnage may eventually be the responsibility of a separate new company.

Recent rumours about a possible merger with Bremen-based German competitor Beluga Shipping were denied by New Mountain Capital director Matthew Ebbel. Contact and talk with competitors were quite normal, he said, but in this case the rumours had to be regarded as a "misunderstanding" he said.