Damen Shipyards Group will establish a specialised financial services division during April.

Damen said that it already assists its clients in attracting financing for new ships but the demand for lease solutions has been increasing. Jan Willem van Helden, managing director of Damen Financial Services, explained: “By making it a separate entity within the group, we can work with external investors, banks and specialists to optimise our offering on both a large and a smaller scale, with ships and services as one package.”

The advantage for Damen’s customers is that they can treat their capital investment as operational expenditure (OPEX). For Damen, the extra service means that a broader package, including maintenance, is offered.

Van Helden said: “In the past, we would first sell a ship and then support our customer with the financing structure. In the new set-up, the operating structure and financial framework are created first, after which customers are approached to purchase ships. This generally includes a long-term, low-risk element such as a concession or charter contract.”