Company bosses tell Tradewinds that the Long Island-based outfit has hired Mark Suarez, who until recently was director of equity research covering shipping and transport stocks at Connecticut investment firm Euro Pacific Capital, as a senior transport advisor.
The move is the latest push into the financial space by McQuilling that includes an unveiling of a strategic alliance between McQ Holdings and financial firm JonesTrading in September.
As the largest block equity trader in the US, JonesTrading contributes its access to a network of over 1,000 institutional investors.
For its part, McQ Holdings brings McQuilling’s shipping industry client base, as well as its depth of knowledge in shipping and commitment to sticking with the industry, unlike some investment banks that tend to come and go, executives say.
Headed by Angelos Meimeteas and Mark Sanor, McQ Holdings is aiming to use the partnership to provide transport companies with access to secondary stock offerings, at-the-market (ATM) offerings and preferred stock offerings.
The pair acknowledged that depressed shipping share valuations do not allow for those deals now but the McQ Holdings team is pushing shipowner clients to begin setting the stage for ATM offerings, which allow listed companies to sell new shares over time, in the months to come.
The ATMs avoid discounts of large secondary offerings that see a swathe of shares sold overnight, although they are not usually helpful with large deals.
“Several of the CEOs are leaning in to do this,” Sanor said. “I think once you see this happen, it will break the logjam.”
Sanor and Meimeteas say McQ Holdings has had success in private deals and has public capital markets business lined up for when the stock market co-operates with their plans.
“We’re having success in meetings with some of the top names to look at putting in place strategies to help them raise capital and explore opportunities as deals present themselves,” Meimeteas said.
Executives say McQ Holdings is also looking to expand beyond shipping, with hopes of carrying out deals in both the energy sector and surface transport.
Suarez, who also has road and rail transport experience, says he was drawn to McQ Holdings because of the advantages of having the backing of a major shipbrokerage, including access to in-depth, real-time data on fundamentals that drive shipping markets, particularly in McQuilling’s core tanker segments. He says other financial firms have to buy data from third parties, which often has a lag.
“It’s really the focus [on shipping] that I was really attracted too,” Suarez said. “We can really leverage that expertise.”