Photo credit: Golden Ocean Group

Oslo-based Golden Ocean Group led-by John Fredriksen, as the director since 2014, is expanding its fleet portfolio, with the acquisition of six modern Newcastlemax vessels, for a total sum of $291 million. John Fredriksen has been the director of the company since October 2014, and the Chairman, President and a Director of Frontline Ltd since November 1997. The vessels will be chartered back to their former owner at profitable levels.

The dry bulk owner of large-size vessels has sealed the deal to acquire the 208,000 deadweight tons vessels, which will be chartered back to their former owner, an unrelated third party, for approximately 36 months, at an average daily time charter equivalent rate of approximately $21,000 net.

The acquisition, as the shipowner says today, will be financed by a new $233 million credit facility, which will be secured by the newly-acquired vessels and two unencumbered vessels, and cash on hand.

The Nasdaq and Oslo-listed owner has sold 11 older ships in the last 24 months, generating aggregate net proceeds of approximately $124 million. Based on conservative debt financing assumptions, these proceeds are enough to fund the majority of the expected equity required for the six newly acquired vessels and the ten Kamsarmax newbuildings now under construction.

Following the acquisition, Golden Ocean will be the world’s largest publicly-listed dry bulk company in terms of deadweight, as the company claims. The newly acquired vessels equipped with exhaust gas cleaning systems, or scrubbers, will be added in the fleet of Golden Ocean, which owns or controls 99 vessels, with an average age of approximately six years, following the above transaction. The company is a large owner of Capesize vessels and has a leading position in the ice-class Panamax vessel niche.

“We have acted on what we see as a short-term weakness in asset prices to acquire high-quality assets, with strong return profiles that will comply with all environmental regulations beyond 2030. We have structured the acquisition to manage short-term risk through profitable time charter contracts, while increasing our long-term exposure aligning with our optimistic outlook.  Due to our strong balance sheet, we are able to do the transaction with moderate leverage, and cash on hand without impacting our dividend capacity,” said Mr. Ulrik Andersen, Chief Executive Officer of Golden Ocean Management.