Whereas the Southampton Boat Show
last September seemed promising for the marine market, January’s
London Boat Show was significantly emptier than it was in 2009.

It may be the case that manufacturers and
attendees no longer feel the need for two shows in four months, and
have plumped for the more international event at Southampton.

Whatever the case, finance is still being
provided – Barclays and Lombard were exhibiting as always and
several brokers were seen making the rounds for the first time.

Most interestingly, ING Lease seems to be
showing a renewed interest in the marine market – an area it has
not been particularly active in over the past four years. Business
will be done at the lessor’s marine finance headquarters in Nice,
suggesting that the French market is seeing a revival. Introducers
in the UK are aware of the lessor’s renewed appetite, despite ING’s
absence at the recent UK shows.

Ian Jackson, MD of Quartz Finance, a recent
entrant into the marine market, said: “The consensus from
exhibitors seemed to be that numbers were down, but confidence was
higher.

“The stock depletion strategies of 2009 seem
to have steadied the market for gradual, sustained growth from
2010, with the UK second-hand market being quite strong given the
relative weakness of sterling.”

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By GlobalData

Meanwhile, Barclays Marine Finance reported
that last year had seen a period where demand for used stock had
outstripped supply, but that optimism generated in the summer show
season had been dampened by a “not fantastic” autumn and
winter.

Nevertheless, said Barclays Marine Finance
sales head, James Crew, “‘distressed’ sales appear to be over, and
an air of stability and moderation has returned. Borrowers now
understand the need for good disclosure, and appear more tolerant
and much more willing to work with us by furnishing us with the
information we need more quickly.”

Crew pointed to a €9 million loan on a €46
million motor yacht, which had been approved in only four days, as
an example of recent business it has signed.

BMF’s average loan in 2009 was £317,000
(€360,000) – some 20 percent less than the average during 2008.

Average loan to value ratio was reported at 60
percent, higher than 56 percent in 2008. BMF is currently lending
at 2.5 percent over finance house base rate.

Fred Crawley

Fred Crawley