MILAN, Aug 1 (Reuters) - Boutique financial firm SC Lowy said on Wednesday it had bought a $160 million bad loan portfolio from Italian state-owned bank Monte dei Paschi di Siena in one of the country’s largest shipping debt sales.
SC Lowy, which has offices in Hong Kong, London and Seoul, entered the Italian market in April this year by buying a 90 percent stake in small lender Credito di Romagna, with a view to developing an investment banking business and buying illiquid assets including soured loans.
Italy is Europe’s biggest distressed debt market following a deep recession. Monte dei Paschi was rescued by the Italian state last year as it risked buckling under a bad loan pile.
Segments of the shipping industry, which transports 90 percent of the world’s goods including oil, food and industrial products such as coal and iron ore, are coming out of a near-decade long slump with players looking for opportunities.
SC Lowy, which has invested in shipping debt in the past, said it had bought the Monte dei Paschi portfolio through Credito di Romagna.
The portfolio comprises dry bulk shipping, crude oil carriers and an offshore support vessel, SC Lowy said in a statement, without disclosing the price paid. (Reporting by Valentina Za)