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13 Jan 2021

Stephenson Harwood advises EnTrust on loan facility to United Overseas Group (UOG)

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International law firm Stephenson Harwood LLP has advised EnTrust Global’s Blue Ocean Funds on a loan facility to United Overseas Group (UOG) – a group set up by veteran New York shipowner Peter Georgiopoulos and partner Leo Vrondissis – in relation to its acquisition of United Arab Chemical Carriers (UACC) for an undisclosed sum.

EnTrust Global, an alternative investment firm, is providing funds which will be used to acquire UACC. The Dubai-headquartered international shipping company was founded in 2007 and has been owned by a group of sovereign wealth funds and high net worth individuals since it was the first company set up in Dubai’s free trade zone. It has a fleet of 22 vessels, 20 of which are owned; they include nine chemical tankers, two LR1s and nine MRs.

“The Stephenson Harwood ship finance team is known for its truly international reach, and the breadth and depth of its expertise,” said Ian Mace, global head of ship finance, Stephenson Harwood. “With experts based across our international networks, we were ideally placed to advise on this complex transaction through our ship finance and corporate teams in London and Dubai, bringing unparalleled understanding of the sector and jurisdictional particularities at play. This is the sort of complex, multi-jurisdictional work where our team really shines.”

The deal, which involves a complex “reverse triangular merger”, still requires UACC shareholder and regulatory approval and is expected to close by the end of Q1 2021. This innovative transaction will be the first ever such merger under the Companies Law of the Dubai International Financial Centre (the DIFC).

“This was a very complex and innovative deal,” said Svein Engh, Senior Managing Director, EnTrust Global. “The ability of our Blue Ocean team to fully underwrite this complex and sizeable transaction was a key component to success. The transaction is a perfect illustration of our strategy to pursue sizable, innovative financings to select shipowners, where our abilities and experience can add real value.”

The Stephenson Harwood team was led by global head of ship finance Ian Mace, who was supported by associate Alexander Troop, as well as Dubai-based corporate partner Sandeep Dhama and associate Nurlan Aitakhan, and Dubai-based finance partner Nijoe Joseph and associate Gaurav Jain.

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