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Issue 49, Friday July 9, 2004 A Tanker Operator publication www.tankertrends.com
IN THIS ISSUE:
Egyptian offer on gas 2
First for Primal
arely three years old, Greece’s Primal Tankers is making a bold bid to become the next Greek tanker company to list in New York under the banner of TOP Tankers (TOPT). According to a prospectus filed with the SEC, TOPT seeks to net around $144m from an ipo to contribute to the $251.2m purchase price of ten tankers to take its fleet to 17 totalling 1.1m dwt. The offer is of 13.3m shares expected to be priced between $13 and $15 a share with a 2m share underwriters’ overallotment. The company intends to list on Nasdaq. Primal started in 2000 with two handysize product carriers and has built the fleet up to seven consisting of two smallish Brazilian-built Chevron suezmaxes and two handymax product carriers plus one more handysize acquired last year. Its primary customers are Petrobras and Vitol. The prospectus reveals that Primal Tankers made $1.6m net profit last year on turnover of $23m from a fleet averaging 4.4 vessels. In the first quarter of 2004, it made $1.24m on revenues of $7.7m based on 5.2 vessels. The new vessels consist of two suezmaxes and eight 1990’s Halla-built product carriers that Sovcomflot is clearing out to make way for its extensive newbuilding programme. The the product carriers are on charter back for two years at $14,500/$14,250 a day plus a profit share. TOPT has negotiated a new secured $193m credit facility, $107.3m of which will finance the balance of the purchase price, and the rest refinance existing debt. On completion of the offering, TOTP will have an indebtedness ratio to total capital of around 50% which TOTP says is its target leverage for the postoffer operation and any further acquisitions to be made. At the moment, 20% of the 6m outstanding shares of TOPT are owned by 31-year-old Primal principal Evangelos Pistiolis and 80% by Kingdom Holdings owned “primarily by another member of the Pistiolos family (Evangelos’s father John?) and to a limited extent by a third party.” After the offer, Pistiolis would own 6.7% of TOPT, and the mysterious Kingdom Holdings still a hefty 20%. Pistiolis worked as a container broker at Howe Robinson in the mid 1990’s but the prospectus does not say what he was doing from 1995 to the 2000 foundation of Primal Tankers. The company is to be chaired by Primal’s financial advisor, Thomas Jackson, long-time shipping banker with Natwest
Egypt is keen to cooperate with Greek shipowners in the transportation of its natural gas.
Deals go through for Eitzen
Big week for Oslo Bourse newbie Camillo Eitzen as it closed on the two main transactions prefigured in its prospectus for last month’s listing.
The oil market has come off the boil after temporary supply disruptions in Iraq and Nigeria catapulted US light crude within sight of $40, but the respite likely will be short lived amid uncertainty over OPEC’s ability to keep pace with surging global demand.
The suezmax market in the Western hemisphere climbed again last week, though east of Suez it was a different story
The market is ticking along nicely with rates rising once more this week. July has come in equal best with May this year with 108 fixtures out of the Gulf, and the odd one or two may conceivably trickle in.
Key tanker fixtures 5, Tanker fleet changes 6, Sales 7, Worldwatch 8
Tankertrends 9 July 2004
until 1999. The offer is being lead by Cantor Fitzgerald, Hibernia Southcoast Capital, HARRISdirect and Alpha Finance - none exactly household names in the shipping public markets. TOPT says its financial strategy is focused on “maintaining our current level of leverage and distributing a portion of our annual net income in dividends.” The current intention is to pay a first quarterly dividend in January next year of $0.21 per share which would cost the company just under $4m. It intends to focus on the acquisition of handymax product carriers and suezmaxes, preferably sisterships. The company says it will sell its remaining single hull tankers aggregating 8.1m dwt before end 2005. Management will be through a wholly owned subsidiary, TOP Tanker Management Inc, but technical management of the new vessels will be left with their current manager, Unicom, while the existing fleet will be technically managed by V Ships. However ships are crewed by direct employees. Funnily enough the last but one Greek shipping entrepreneur to float in New York, Peter Georgiopoulos took a similar route, with Genmar using the ipo to fund the purchase of a fleet of Sovcomflot obos. Despite Wall Street’s current love affair with tanker shipping, it will be interesting to see whether it fancies financing a fleet past middle age. Ian Middleton
TOPT says its financial strategy is focused on “maintaining our current level of leverage and distributing a portion of our annual net income in dividends.”
Egyptian offer on gas
gypt is keen to cooperate with Greek shipowners in the transportation of its natural gas. As Egypt moves to develop its natural gas reserves in a bid to become a major producer, the country's government has made an approach to Greek ship owners suggesting long term co-operation. Following recent meetings between Greece's diplomatic representatives in Cairo and executives of the Egyptian State Company of Natural Gas, the Union of Greek Shipowners has been approached directly to help in the search for Greek tonnage. In a letter to the UGS, officials in Egypt note "Egypt will very soon have the infrastructure and the capacity to become one of the main supply centres of natural gas". Egypt is presently developing its natural gas sector and is exporting product in liquid and concentrated form. Indeed, it is seeking to export product to Greece and believes Greek ships can be utilised in this business as well as the wider transportation of its product. Egypt's natural gas reserves are estimated to run to 1,736bn cu mtrs. In 2004/2005 it’s estimated the country's production of natural gas will reach 35bn cu mtrs. Greece presently has a fleet of around 55 gas carriers, most of them aged. In all, only eight Greek operators run gas carriers and by far the largest of them is the Greek/Syrian company Naftomar Shipping & Trading which has 26 LPG carriers, the bulk of them built in the early to mid 1980s. Benelux Overseas has 10 LPG carriers, built from the mid 1970s through to the early 1980s. Dorian (Hellas) has four LPG units, two built in 1989 and two commissioned in 1997. Presently five Greek operations are building 10 gas carriers, four of them, Tsakos Energy Navigation, Kristen Navigation, Dynacom Tankers Management and Stamco Shipmanagement, moving into the sector for the first time. The fifth is Dorian. TEN, Kristen and Dynacom and all building LNG carriers at South Korea's Hyundai HI, with Kristen and Dynacom, each building three ships of around 150,000c mtr at an investment of around $1.2bn. Tsakos has one firm, one option, and is actively working
Tankertrends 9 July 2004
a project for two similar size gas ships with Spain's Izar. The Latsis Group entered the sector in 2003 when it commissioned two 60,000 dwt LPGs, while Chandris Hellas has been linked to several newbuilding projects in a management capacity, most notably UK's BG Group which has eight 68,250 dwt ships under construction at Samsung HI in South Korea, the first of which is delivering, with the rest to come 2006-2008. TEN chairman and ceo, Nikolas Tsakos says the gas sector "is a competitive one" with "only four of five companies having their own fleets". He believes that in the future the use of gas will become more common, and as is the case with Egypt, points out there "is a lot of natural gas but no installations for handling its transportations". "This will soon change," says Tsakos. David Glass
... the gas sector “is a competitive one" with "only four of five companies having their own fleets”.
Deals go through for Eitzen
ig week for Oslo Bourse newbie Camillo Eitzen as it closed on the two main transactions prefigured in its prospectus for last month’s listing. First to close was the agreement to buy John Fredriksen-controlled Naviera Quimica and its chemical carrier together with six other chemical carriers controlled by Fredriksen. Purchase price was $47m financed with $7m in cash, $33m in debt and $7m in new shares giving Fredriksen a 4% stake in the company. The share price of Fredriksen’s tranche is guaranteed for six months unless it equals or betters the NKr 35 offer subscription price for two weeks on the stock exchange together with a minimum share liquidity threshold, in which case the guarantee will be released. Naviera Quimica is a niche operator in the Mediterranean/Southern Europe trades. About half its cargo is carried under coa’s, the rest spot. That transaction was swiftly followed this week by closure of a deal to buy nine late1980’s-built Stelmar product carriers in the handymax size range. The vessels are bareboated back to Stelmar for five years at an average of $6,528 a day per ship. The $106.6m deal is 86% debt-financed through Parmar KS of which CE is general manager and a 25% stakeholder. CE’s existing involvement in the chemical sector is through 11 vessels in the Copenhagen Tankers jv with Wonsild and the Clipper Group with a further newbuilding to come this month. Its oil tanker involvement is through three early 1990s-built panamax obos. It participates in the gas shipping market, both lpg and ethylene, with a 16-vessel owned or part-owned fleet. Prior to the float it bought Bergesen’s 15% stake in ethylene carrier operation Sigloo Gas KS taking its own stake to 40%. The company has also bought the 20% of Eitzen Bulk that it did not already own. Interestingly enough the effect of all these acquisitions on a pro forma basis, if they had been in place January 1st, would have been to reduce CE’s first quarter net profit by $1.4m from $13m. As a result of them CE’s fixed assets have increased from $141m in May to $245m now. Equity has gone from $38.1m to $55.6m and long term debt from $117.4m to $205.4m. Pro forma, the enlarged group’s 1st quarter would have produced first quarter revenues of $146.3m and net profits of $11.63m. Last month’s offering raised NKr301m through the sale of 8.6m shares at NKr35. Ian Middleton
Tankertrends 9 July 2004
he suezmax market in the Western hemisphere climbed again last week, though east of Suez it was a different story. The differential between average earnings in the VLCC and suezmax markets is now less than $10,000 a day. Med rates in particular jumped 25 points last week but early fixtures this week suggest a falling back to the mid-WS170’s. Rates transatlantic in the West Africa load area also beat WS170 with WS192.5 fixed for Chile although that fixture has failed. There have been too few fixtures this week to discern a trend, but brokers suggest that July is almost done. Galbraith’s says that compared with a couple of years ago, suezmax tonnage lists are much shorter, although the Alliance pool of course is not releasing its forward positions, and charterers are booking earlier in the cycle. Rates east out of the Gulf have continued to drop this week on sparse activity taking earnings to little more than half those in the
Med. With three suezmaxes due to phase out this year and 10 still to deliver, net fleet growth should be around 6% in deadweight terms - not too dramatic considering the extra flow of oil and its tonne-mile effect. 2005 should see about the same net growth. It is interesting to note just how much the fragmented suezmax ownership has consolidated at the top end in the last eighteen months or so as a result of various deals. The top four at the beginning of 2003 were the Fredriksen Group with 31 vesels, Metrostar with 14, Sovkomflot with 11 and a clutch of others, including Teekay, with 9. Today Fredriksen is still at the top with 29 and none on order, joined by Teekay with 29 but three on order though the majority are shuttle tankers, Genmar on 21 with four on order, and Sovkomflot with 12 but 10 on order. Ian Middleton
Graph based on data from Clarksons
he oil market has come off the boil after temporary supply disruptions in Iraq and Nigeria catapulted US light crude within sight of $40, but the respite likely will be short lived amid uncertainty over OPEC’s ability to keep pace with surging global demand. Traders are bracing for extreme volatility over the coming weeks as minor supply hitches trigger disproportionate price movements in a drum tight market.The near halving of Iraqi exports to 900,000 b/d after sabotage to a pipeline and the loss of 250,000 b/d of Nigerian crude following a workers’ protest cut global supply by just 1.7% for a few days yet prices jumped to their highest level in over a month. With Iraq and Nigeria pumping at near normal levels again prices are heading lower with key regional markets, including the US, relatively well supplied with crude and products for the next few weeks as increased OPEC output is about to arrive at import terminals. The price retreat was accelerated by Saudi Arabia’s assurance that OPEC will go ahead with a planned 500,000 b/d increase in official production quotas from August that were agreed in early June. Earlier comments by Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi that prices were at a satisfactory level had cast doubt on whether the cartel would sanction a second
Tankertrends 9 July 2004
production increase in as many months when it meets in Vienna on July 21. OPEC raised its official output by 2m b/d to 25.5m b/d in July and is under intense pressure from consuming nations to pump even more to prevent a price spike that threatens to slow global economic growth. The market is also waiting to see whether Yukos, Russia’s largest oil producer, will be forced to reduce some of the 400,000 b/d exports of crude and products shipped by rail and river as it attempts to finance its pipeline shipments after the Kremlin froze its bank accounts in a bitter dispute over $7 billion of unpaid taxes. The company insists it will not cut its exports, which total around 1.2m b/d, and will respect all its commitments as it has prepaid its pipeline fees for July traders remain wary. For now, traders, hedge funds and speculators, expect the market to soften, probably sliding to a floor of $35 for US light crude, but no one rules out another strong rally with Iraq at the mercy of saboteurs and Nigeria facing further labour unrest at a time when global demand is growing at its fastest pace for 24 years. Bruce Barnard
Point to make? View on the market? Let us know! email
Key fixtures Voyage
The Gulf market is heating up again this week in a satisfactory way for owners as early August laycans are fixed at higher rates than nearer end July positions. Thus CSSA fixed Asian Progress II for 265k AG/SAF at WS135 off August 6th. Two days earlier Engen had fixed a brace of VLCCs for the same trip at WS120 for end July. Rates east were making similar progress with rates topping WS125 for early August dates against WS120 paid earlier in the week for late July laycan. Embiricos’s single hull Falkonera seems to have done particularly well for the top fixture this week so far scoring a reported WS130 for 260k AG/Taiwan for Formosa off August 1st. That takes earnings above $80,000 a day. West Africa is maintaining at above $80,000 a day with Elizabeth Angelicoussis fixed at WS122.5 by Emerald for 260k WAF/USG off August 4th. West Africa has consistently been the best earning VLCC main route this year underpinned by the strong suezmax market. WS207.5 for a cross Med voyage off July 21st failed and replacement Tsakos’s Parthenon accepted WS195 taking earnings down to around $36,000 a day - still healthy of course. A Minerva tbn kept the flag flying with WS210 from Tamoil for cross-Med, but other fixtures this week seem to confirm a WS190s benchmark. The Caribs market has come roaring back this week with pride of place going to Arcadia’s Aegean Legend fixed to Stusco at WS200 for 70k ECMex/USG off July 14th a thirty point advance on last week taking earnings to around $36,000 a day. Other fixtures this week have been in the WS190s.
Very little activity in the period market. However, Hyundai has taken NYK’s 1991buillt single hull, Tohdoh, on for three years at $30,000 a day bringing the total number of VLCCs taken on period charter to 12 this year against 23 for the whole of last year. Academically, it is an interesting decision: around $25m net of operating costs over three years with only three years of trading life on redelivery against a sale value now of about $45m.
West African rates for 1m barrel ships may be losing a little ground this week but rates are still topping WS160 at presstime. Thus Andriaki’s Venetia is reported to have secured WS165 from CNR for a late July fixture WAF/USG for earnings around $55,000 a day. Black Sea suezmaxes, by contrast seem to be regaining lost ground as the week goes on. Chevtex has reportedly conceded WS180 for 135k CPC/UKCMed on Minerva Symphony off August 1st pulling the market back up to 15 points on earlier week fixtures and keeping earnings at a healthy $70,000 a day or so.
Broker reports suggest that six panamax tankers on order at New Century shipyard in China for delivery 2004 to 2006 have been sold on to German buyers. Although few details have been given it looks as if the ships are those on order for Consolidated Navigation in Monaco and the buyer is Chemikalien Seetransport . If the reported $38.5m per ship price is correct the seller will have done very well out of the deal - they were ordered at around $30m each back in 2002. The seller may well feel also that he is better off out of the panamax market where the orderbook, at 53.6% of the fleet, is chronically overblown.
Med aframax rates are slipping below Ws200 this week. Fixture of the Livia at
Tankertrends 9 July 2004
VL/UL Fundamentals (AG/RS)
Spot market: RISING Spot rates: EXCELLENT Availability: (exc TI and Frontline) Total VL V88- V88+ UL (oilco r/l) Prompt Info n/a 15 days 30 days Fixed May stems June stems July stems Aug stems 8/7 108 102 108 10 28/6 110 102 73 0
Watch out for these charterers: August just getting underway
The market is ticking along nicely with rates rising once more this week. July has come in equal best with May this year with 108 fixtures out of the Gulf, and the odd one or two may conceivably trickle in. August has now begun in earnest traditionally the worst month in the VLCC market so it will be very interesting to see what happens. As of last weekend there were only 15 modern vessels available to load in the following 30 days according to EA Gibson which could therefore create a spike in the market for early double hull tonnage.
Data from DVB Bank
Tanker fleet changes
Newbuilding contracts Week YTD
V/ULCC Suezmax Aframax/LR2 Panamax/LR1 MR Prods 40k+ 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 3 (159) 29 (8,822) 22 (3,535) 47 (5,554) 28 (2,219) 89 (3,977)
Scrapping Week YTD
0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 4 (1,342) 8 (1,128) 19 (1,819) 10 (607) 2 (80)
To deliver 2003
20 (6,167) 13 (2,139) 23 (2,584) 24 (2,748) 58 (2,675)
Number of vessels (,000 dwt). Not including options. Table revised. Source Clarkson Research/TT
JAPAN SHIN KURUSHIMA 1 x 53,000 dwt product carrier (60k cu mtr) for Clio Maritime. Del from 2006. 2 x 53,000 dwt product carriers for Mitsui. Del 2006. WATANABE 1 x 25,000 dwt chemical carrier for StoltNielsen. Del 2005. KOREA DAEWOO 3 x 145,000 cu mtr LNG carriers for Sovcomflot. Del 2007. 3 x 151,700 cu mtr LNG carriers for Teekay. Del 2006/7. Price $170m.
Tankertrends 9 July 2004
Ship name (ex name) Dwt/Gt Blt (,000) 90 03 05 81 01 02 Yard Type Hudong Prods Dalian New Prods Onomichi Prods Sumitomo Prods Hy. Mipo Chemoil Hy. Mipo Chemoil Hy. Mipo Chemoil Hy. Mipo Chemoil Engine B&W 2SA Sulzer 2SA Sold by Chileans SONAP Danes AP Moller Hong Kong Wah Kwong Americans OMI Monegasque Arminter Monegasque Arminter Monegasque Arminter Monegasque Arminter Monegasque Arminter Monegasque Consolidated Nav Sold to (reported) undisc Koreans Daelim Corp Italians Socomar undisc Germans GEBAB Germans GEBAB Germans GEBAB Germans GEBAB Germans GEBAB Germans CST Price ($m) 12.5 57 37 5.2
Cabo Tamar 62 (Reliable Energy) 39 Maersk Princess 100 62 N/B resale 47 Nile (Ogden Nile) *Flores *Kerel 66 41 37 23 37 23 37 23 37 23 37 23 73
Sulzer 2SA B&W 2SA B&W 2SA
*N/B resale 6 x N/B resales
Hy. Mipo Chemoil 04/6 New Century Prods
*New info see issue 47
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Tankertrends 9 July 2004
n Genmar has closed on new $825m senior secured financing facility lead by Nordea. The facility consists of a $225m term loan and a $600m revolving credit facility. The term loan has a five year maturity at a rate of LIBOR plus 1%. It amortises quarterly with a $35m balloon. The nonamortising revolver is of the same tenor and rate with a 0.5% commitment fee on the unused portion. Co-arrangers were Citibank, HSH Nordbank, Dresdner Bank, Bank of Scotland and RBS. Concurrently the company has retired existing facilities totalling $730m and is left with liquidity of $370m after the transaction. n A Korean lpg carrier is reported by Chinese news agency Xinhua to have been in collision with a Chinese vessel, Jingan No 6 off Lushun with one seamen dead off the Chinese vessel and another missing. The dead man was one of 18 crewmen rescued from the sea after the Jingan no 6 sank. A search was still on for the remaining crew member. The Korean vessel, operated by Saehan Marine of Seoul, has been ordered in to Dalian pending investigation. Saehan Marine has a 9-vessel fleet of small lpg vessels, chemical carriers and sulphur carriers. n Gas tanker and lightering specialist, IM Skaugen, reports a $1.5m net loss for the second quarter of this year (2003 2Q: $2m profit) on net revenues of $21.4m (2003 2Q: $47m) taking first half losses to $2.3m. The reduction in revenues is mainly due to the sale of 50% of the Skaugen Petrotrans lightering business to Teekay. Gas activities, mainly through Norgas, experienced much weaker conditions than anticipated during the quarter due to a shortage of product worldwide resulting in more idle time for the fleet. Shuttle tanker activities achieved “acceptable” results after a challenging start to the year. n Only Indian-flagged LNG carriers will be allowed to carry LNG imports into the country the Indian Shipping Ministry has decided. Furthermore, importing vessels must have a minimum 26% Indian stake in the ownership of the vessel. The restrictions are tied to the introduction of a tonnage tax regime for the Indian flag and will apply when it comes in. Such vessels will also have to carry a minimum of two Indian officers and two Indian cadets. Partners in such vessels must also agree to a transfer of technology to the Indian partner so that within five years the ship will be managed, maintained and operated by the Indian partner. Spot cargoes can be carried on any vessel provided they do not exceed 10% of annual import volumes. n Algerian reports say that crew of Hyproc Shipping gas tanker Chihani Bachir were subjected to “humiliating” treatment by US marines and Coastguard personnel who boarded the ship at gunpoint off the Lake Charles, Louisiana, LNG terminal in April. The captain and 43 Algerian crewmen were questioned for hours. Details emerged after the vessel returned recently to Arzew. A leaked report to Hyproc's parent Sonatrach and and Alegerian Energy Minister Chakib Khalil described the incident as “shameful” and tarnishing Algeria's reputation and sovereignty.
Tankertrends 9 July 2004
The Back Page
managed to emulate the punter in the south of England who won £330,000 with a series of bets on the winners starting with a modest £4,000 before a ball had been kicked in anger. A Burmese businessman apparently. They know their football in Burma...and in Greece as we must now all concede. interminable wrangling that accompanies such reforms could well be years). Up until then, therefore, import vessels can be foreign registered but must be minimum 26% owned by an Indian partner (shouldn't that be 25 times the square root of minus one?). Furthermore, once the regulations are operative, chartered vessels must have a minimum of two Indian officers and two trainee officers/cadets, one each on the engineering and deck side respectively. Ownership consortium members have to transfer technology to the Indian partner within five years so that the Indian partner becomes the manager and operator of the vessel. Really makes you want to get involved doesn't it. Icing on the cake is that importers can use foreign vessels to import spot car-
BN Amro Greece's shipping chief Dimitri Anagnostopoulos was in ebullient mood at the bank's 30th anniversary celebration at the Astir Place this week. Football fan Agnastopoulos joked to guests that he had personally arranged the party (months before) to double as a celebration of Greece's winning Euro 2004. Mind you, to be fair, he had been offering to take bets on Greece at a private dinner before Greece's dramatic victory against the Portuguese. Guests including many prominent shipowners, were treated to displays of synchronised swimming for some reason - are the Greeks about to conquer Europe in this endeavour also? Wonder if Agnastopoulos
goes - but only if such imports do not exceed 10% of annual imports (on a terminal by terminal basis!). Think about it. Let's hope the good citizens of Bangalore or wherever appreciate this Kafkaesque scheme to promote Indian shipping while sitting in the dark due the inability of their local LNG importer to bring in a spot cargo because he will be over the limit.
The Cuban castle
must say the heart sank as I read the latest bureaucratic endeavour from the Indian ministry of shipping. Only Indian flag ships will be allowed to carry LNG imports into the country on long term charters. The regulations are stayed until India's proposed tonnage tax system comes in (which given the
alking of which, it's been noted in several places that a US Navy spokesman put up to answer journalists questions about the prison at Guantanamo Bay is one Lieutenant Mike Kafka. That's right - a prison where inmates are only vaguely charged with crimes, can't speak to lawyers and may never get out. Ian Middleton
Stuart Fryer Ian Middleton Vivian Chee Publisher Contributing Editor Production
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