Ship Finance International Limited (NYSE: SFL) (SFL) announces that it has agreed to acquire three 300,000 dwt crude oil carriers, or VLCCs, currently under construction at DSME in Korea. The net purchase price will be $180 million, or $60 million per vessel and they are expected to be delivered to SFL within the next two months.
The vessels were ordered in 2018 by affiliates of the Norwegian listed company Hunter Group ASA (Hunter), and have all the latest eco-design features, including exhaust gas cleaning systems. After delivery to SFL the vessels will immediately commence 5-year bareboat charters to Hunter with purchase options during the charter period.
The agreed purchase price is significantly below current broker estimates for VLCC resales, effectively providing SFL with a very attractive risk profile and the transaction will add more than $100 million to SFL’s fixed-rate charter backlog.
SFL will initially fund the acquisition from its cash position, but expect to finance a significant portion of the purchase price in the commercial bank market. The Company has already received a term sheet on bank financing at very attractive terms which will significantly enhance the return on invested equity.
Ole B. Hjertaker, CEO of SFL Management AS, said in a comment: “In an environment where traditional bank financing for maritime companies is becoming increasingly scarce, this transaction highlights SFL’s unique position as a specialty financing company.
With a versatile toolbox, including time charters, bareboat charters and senior financing structures, we are able to provide our customers with competitive tailor made solutions, whilst at the same time creating shareholder value on the back of our strong balance sheet and our unique access to attractively priced capital.”