News & Press Releases - June 10, 2024

Axcel, PFA and PKA sell Danish Ship Finance

Magellan Capital Holdings acquires specialised ship finance provider Danish Ship Finance from Axcel, PFA and PKA.

Nordic private equity group Axcel and Danish pension funds PFA and PKA have agreed to sell their majority stake in Danish Ship Finance to Magellan Capital Holdings Ltd (“Magellan”). The transaction was approved today by the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority and is expected to complete imminently. The parties have agreed not to disclose the transaction value.

The Danish Maritime Fund will maintain its 10% shareholding in Danish Ship Finance, while Axcel will retain a 5% stake for up to two years to ensure a smooth ownership transition.

Magellan is a diversified holding company fully owned by Swedish national Hassan Elali, the founder and former owner of ZMI Holdings (“ZMI”), the world’s largest owner and operator of self-propelled, self-elevating jack-up barges with a best-in-class fleet of offshore support vessels. Magellan intends to work closely with the Board and leadership team of Danish Ship Finance to support the long-term growth of the company.

Axcel, PFA and PKA invested in Danish Ship Finance in 2016. During the ownership period, the company has continued its internationalisation and solidified its position as the premier specialised ship mortgage finance provider.

Long-term investor
Magellan was founded by Hassan Elali following the sale of ZMI to ADNOC Logistics & Services in 2022. Danish Ship Finance will be a flagship investment for Magellan Group whose investment portfolio is characterised by a long-term and diversified investment strategy.

“We’re pleased that the company’s three majority shareholders have agreed to sell Danish Ship Finance to an owner who has a long-term perspective for the investment and values the company’s core strengths and conservative business approach,” says Danish Ship Finance’s Chairman of the Board, Eivind Kolding.

“Magellan’s investment in Danish Ship Finance is central to our long-term strategy to build a portfolio of premium diversified assets. Danish Ship Finance’s stable performance throughout shipping cycles makes it an attractive long-term investment for Magellan. With our expertise and network, we will support the business in further strengthening its market positioning,” says Ahmed Omar, Chief Investment Officer at Magellan Group.

Axcel and the Danish Maritime Fund stay on as shareholders
To ensure a smooth transition, Axcel will keep a 5% stake for a period of up to two years. The Danish Maritime Fund retains its existing 10% stake in the company.

“During our joint ownership with PFA and PKA, we have strengthened the position of Danish Ship Finance as a leading specialised ship loan provider internationally. It’s a natural next step for Danish Ship Finance to now come under international ownership. We look forward to staying onboard as a co-investor to ensure a smooth transition while also working closely with Magellan to continue growing the business,” says Managing Partner at Axcel Christian Schmidt-Jacobsen.

The departing majority shareholders PFA and PKA are able to look back at an investment that has contributed positively to their members’ pension savings.

“PFA’s customers have received good returns on the investment in Danish Ship Finance over a number of years, which has been included in our portfolio of unlisted investments. After a thorough sales process, we are now satisfied to be able to pass on the proceeds from the sale to our customers’ pension savings,” says Head of Private Markets at PFA Peter Tind Larsen.

“Due to the excellent partnership with Axcel, PFA and the management of Danish Ship Finance, we’ve been able to lift the company to the strong market position it has today. Danish Ship Finance has created good returns in an otherwise volatile market, while also adding a focus on sustainability in its loan profile. We’re proud to have been part of that transition, and we are satisfied with the contribution the investment has made to our members’ pension savings,” says CIO at PKA Michael Nellemann Pedersen.

Continuity in leadership and on the Board
There will be no changes to the executive management of Danish Ship Finance. On the Board of Directors, Chairman Eivind Kolding and board members Christian Frigast, Jacob Meldgaard, Thor Jørgen Guttormsen and Peter Nyegaard will stay onboard. Ahmed Omar and Omar Elali will be joining the Board, representing Magellan.

Credit rating maintained
DSF’s existing Issuer Credit Rating of “BBB+” and covered Bond Rating of “A” with Stable Outlook from Standard & Poor’s are expected to remain unchanged following the transaction.

MW&L Capital Partners acted as exclusive financial advisor to the sellers, and Accura acted as the sellers’ exclusive legal advisor. FIG Partners and Eurofin acted as co-financial advisors to Magellan, and White & Case and Plesner acted as legal advisors.

About Danish Ship Finance
Danish Ship Finance is a highly specialised niche player in the ship finance market and has been committed to the industry since 1961. The company is a trusted partner for Danish and international shipping companies and leverages its extensive sector knowledge to act as more than a financier for its clients. It has a strategic focus on financing the transition to a sustainable shipping industry.

About Magellan Capital Holdings Ltd
Magellan Capital Holdings Ltd (“Magellan”) is owned by Swedish national Hassan Elali, a serial entrepreneur who has been based in Abu Dhabi since the early 1980s. Magellan was founded after the sale of Hassan Elali’s 40-year-old business ZMI Holdings, in which he continues to serve as a board member and advisor to the new owner, ADNOC. Magellan has a well-diversified investment approach, focusing on investments with robust and stable returns in public and private markets and real estate.

About Axcel
Founded in 1994, Axcel is a Nordic private equity group focusing on four sectors: Technology, Business Services & Industrials, Healthcare and Consumer. Our team in Stockholm and Copenhagen brings 30 years of experience in building companies through a collaborative mindset and a structured approach to value creation. Axcel has raised seven funds with committed capital of approx. € 4.1 billion from Nordic and international investors. We currently own 21 companies headquartered across the Nordics, and we have made a total of 71 platform investments, 300 add-on acquisitions and 50 exits. For more information, visit

About PFA
PFA is Denmark’s largest commercial pension provider, and the majority of the value that we create is returned to our 1.3 million customers. Founded in 1917 by the labour market operators and currently with DKK 640 billion in assets under management, PFA’s core mission is to provide financial security, a good senior life, health solutions, and contribute to a sustainable society.

About PKA
PKA is one of Denmark’s largest pension funds. We provide lifelong security to a community of over 355,000 members, predominantly from the social and health sectors. The members are also our owners. On their behalf, we manage assets of DKK 400 billion, which we invest in solar, wind and UN Sustainable Development Goals among other things.

For further information, please contact:
Danish Ship Finance
Eivind Kolding, Chairman of the Board
Tel.: +45 33 33 93 33