In a major consolidation involving Norwegian tanker owners, Stolt-Nielsen has bought Jo Tankers’ chemical tankers fleet
Stolt-Nielsen has completed the acquisition of the chemical tanker operations of Jo Tankers, which it initially announced in July, in a deal worth US$575 million. The deal has been financed by the company’s banks using a combination of bridge financing, secured term loans and corporate funds. It will result in a net addition to Stolt-Nielsen’s debt of US$465 million.
The acquisition includes 13 chemical/product tankers and a 50 per cent share in a joint venture with eight chemical tanker newbuildings. The first of these newbuilds, the 32,834 dwt Jo Alm, was delivered in July 2016, with the remaining seven are due to be completed by 2017. The newbuildings included are all stainless steel eco-friendly ships of 33,000 dwt constructed at New Times Shipbuilding in China. Financing of these newbuilds is off balance sheet.
The 13 chemical tankers comprise eight all stainless steel ships, ranging from 19,000 dwt to 38,000 dwt, and five ships with a combination of stainless steel and coated tanks, all of 37,000 dwt. Six of the 13 ships have been on time charter to Stolt Tankers for the last five years.
Stolt-Nielsen said the ships it has acquired will satisfy Stolt Tankers tonnage replacement needs for the next few years. Chief executive Niels G Stolt-Nielsen said: “While giving us some operational savings, it adds new trade routes to our service offering, thus expanding our presence on key tradelanes and enabling us to better serve the needs of our global customer base. With the expanded fleet we will be better positioned to serve our customers with the quality, reliability and flexibility they require from their logistics provider. Because Stolt Tankers and Jo Tankers share similar approaches to shipmanagement and trading, we will be able to quickly, cost effectively and synergistically integrate these ships into our worldwide operations.”
The deal does not include Jo Tankers’ six LR1 tankers – Jo Pinari, Jo Provel, Jo Rowan, Jo Redwood, Bluebird and Starling – the latter two of which were delivered in 2016. These vessels are currently time chartered out. The sale will, however, have implications for Jo Tankers’ offices in Bergen, Rotterdam, Houston and Manila.