Global investment firm KKR (NYSE:KKR) has created a specialty finance company to lend to the maritime industry, the company announced today. The newly formed company is called Maritime Finance Company.

Maritime Finance will focus on lending to offshore oil-field services companies as well as shipping companies. The company will be headed by Kristan Bodden and Gabriel Tolchinsky, former partners at Helios Advisors.

According to KKR, the new company will be provided with $580 million of equity, 45% provided by KKR, KKR Financial Holdings (UNKNOWN:KFN.DL), and MerchCap Solutions. The rest of the capitalization will be from "various family offices, mutual funds, hedge funds and specialist financial services investors," according to KKR's statement.

"This is an area that has historically been served by European banks," said Bodden in a statement. "The current dislocation in the European banking sector has created a substantial funding gap in maritime asset financing. With Maritime Finance, we are capitalizing on an opportunity to fill an obvious void while at the same time aiming to provide compelling returns and attractive yields for our investors."

Maritime Finance says its lending will be secured by assets such as offshore drilling rigs, development and production assets, subsea construction vessels, and traditional shipping assets.

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