Norton Rose Fulbright advises J.P. Morgan on €214 million financing for the purchase of two polar class expedition cruise ships by GTLK Europe

Global Press release - Business December 2021

Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has advised J.P. Morgan on an export credit agency-supported financing to support the purchase of the polar class expedition cruise ships, SH Minerva and SH Vega, by GTLK Europe.

J.P. Morgan acted as arranger on the €214 million Finnvera/FEC-supported financing agreements. The transaction marks the first new ECA-supported cruise ship financing since the Covid-19 pandemic.

The vessels, constructed by Helsinki Shipyard in Finland, will be chartered to and operated by Swan Hellenic Cruises and will be owned by vehicles controlled by Ireland-based GTLK Europe. SH Minerva was delivered by Helsinki Shipyard on December 3, 2021. SH Vega is due to be delivered in Spring 2022.

Andrew Williams, London-based banking and finance partner who led on the deal, commented:

“We are delighted to advise J.P. Morgan on this deal, the first such transaction in the cruise ship sector since the pandemic. It is the latest example of the strength of our cruise and export credit agency practices, which are a key part of our broader tier one ship finance practice, and also demonstrates our cross-border capability.”

John Meakin, Global Head of Export and Agency Finance at J.P. Morgan, added:

“This is a key transaction not just for GTLK but for the cruise industry more generally, as the world emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic. We are thrilled to work on this fantastic project and look forward to working with GTLK and others on similarly innovative financing structures in the future.”

Roman Lyadov, Chief Executive Officer of GTLK Europe DAC, said:

“We are delighted to be able to close our first European ECA transaction with Finnvera & Finnish Export Credit Ltd, with the support of J.P. Morgan. This has been a very positive learning experience for us and has opened up an additional channel of funding to compliment GTLK Europe’s existing programme. We strongly believe in the importance of building relationships with our financing partners and believe this will positively contribute to further ECA transactions in Europe and elsewhere in the future.”

The Norton Rose Fulbright team also included global co-head of shipping Simon Hartley and senior associate Llian Williams. The team was supported on Russian law matters by Moscow-based partner Alexander Tsakoev and associates Sofya Mamonova and Anna Protosova. Independent advice was provided to Ocorian (UK) Limited as security trustee by a team led by partner Kirstin Russell and associate Jessica Sorah.

J.P. Morgan were also advised by A&L Goodbody (as to matters of Irish law), Roschier (as to matters of Finnish law), Ganado Advocates (as to matters of Maltese law) and Chrysses Demetriades & Co (as to matters of Cypriot law).

GTLK were advised by Allen & Overy and Watson Farley & Williams (as to matters of English and Russian law), Flynn O’Driscoll (as to matters of Irish law), Ganado Advocates (as to matters of Maltese law) and KPMG Ireland (as to tax matters).