First Union Securities recently placed $283.9 million worth of shipping container receivables originated by Seaco Containers Ltd. into its Variable Funding Capital Corp. ABCP conduit.
According to a release from Moody's Investors Service, the collateral was rated triple-A based on a wrap from Ambac. While Seaco is servicer on the transaction, the company has been conducting its marine container leasing operations through GE Seaco, a joint venture formed by GE Capital Corp. and Seaco Containers in 1998.
Shipping container and chassis deals have been slow to close this year, despite a healthy pipeline. First Union reportedly has three more deals slated, potentially for 2001, although these transactions are said to be in the preliminary stages.
For most of the year, ABN Amro has been working on a $75 million or so deal for Gold Container Corp. (see ASR 4/2/01), although there is no word on on the timing of that deal. Contacts at Amro declined comment.
Gold Container is the U.S. subsidiary of The Touax Group, a France-based container and railcar-leasing corporation.
Also, Textainer, Interpool and Triton Container International, all three of which are U.S.-headquartered companies, are rumored to be considering deals this year.
Interpool will securitize the lease-streams associated with shipping chassises, or the chassises that shipping containers are placed onto when off-loaded from the freightliners. Interpool closed a $280 million warehouse facility with a lender last July, which will be taken to the term market.
So far, only one term deal has been brought to market from the container sector, a $300 million deal from Triton via First Union last September. Triton's 2000 deal derived revenue streams from approximately 200,000 containers. MBIA wrapped the transaction.
Like Seaco, most of the container transactions to date have gone into the conduit market, on a wrapped basis, although industry sources expect to see more term activity as the sector develops.