Legg Mason’s subsidiary EnTrustPermal is planning to raise $250m (€214.1m) on the London Stock Exchange for a direct lending investment trust to target maritime financing.

Blue Ocean Maritime Income intends to launch an initial public offering by offering 250m shares at an issue price of $1.00 each and join the London Stock Exchange on 23 October.

The company said it plans to target direct lending opportunities to vessel owners and intends to seek to exploit the twin dislocations in the shipping and European banking sectors by serving as an alternative source of liquidity to those companies.

The Blue Ocean strategy has already deployed over $300m since September 2016, financing 55 vessels, it said.

Svein Engh, the portfolio manager at Blue Ocean Maritime Income, said: “While we continue to see capital inflow to direct lending vehicles and investment funds in sectors such as real estate or infrastructure, the maritime financing sector is in a different position; values are low, and the competition is limited, resulting in attractive risk-adjusted yield opportunities.

“The banking dislocation is driving our opportunity and we are stepping into the area where banks used to be very active but are now restricted due to Basel regulations and other factors. As a non-bank lender, we can construct our portfolio in a countercyclical manner in the privately-owned segment of the shipping market.”

Roger Harle, a senior vice president at EnTrustPermal, said: “We are delighted to announce the proposed IPO of Blue Ocean Maritime Income. With Svein’s experience in this sector, along with the support from the investment team, we have the opportunity to target high-quality maritime assets in the private market.

“We believe this is a unique and compelling investment opportunity, providing investors the chance to access an often-overlooked market, through a highly experienced investment team.”

EnTrustPermal will serve as the investment manager