Chinese lenders turn to Norton Rose for Greek deals

Norton Rose has advised the Chinese arrangers of three separate loans to three Greek shipping companies totalling $275m (£172m).

The firm’s Athens office advised China Exim, ­alongside DnB NOR Bank, on two loan facilities totalling $200m to Diana Shipping and Angelicoussis Shipping Group.

Meanwhile, the Beijing office acted on a separate $75m loan facility arranged by China Development Bank (CDB) for Cardiff Marine, a subsidiary of the George Economou group. The deal marks the first international shipping financing by CDB.

Athens banking partner Yianni Cheilas led the ­Norton Rose team on the two Exim deals and was joined by Beijing banking partner Nigel Ward, who offered Chinese expertise on the CDB matter.
Cheilas said he expected to see an influx of similar deals in the coming months and confirmed that his firm was already working on another loan offering for CDB.

“These shipping loans demonstrate a significant strengthening of the ­relationship between the Chinese banks and Greek shipping companies,” he added. “We’re seeing increased activity in the shipping sector between China and Greece and these loan agreements are just an indication of the ­potential.”

Ward commented: “We’re one of the few practices with sufficient expertise and capability to advise on such loan agreements. Working between our offices we have the relationships and ­shipping expertise in China and Greece to undertake these types of loans.”