Dry bulk shipping company Golden Ocean has entered into agreements to sell six Ultramax bulk carriers that were delivered in just the past two years so that it can focus on the Capesize and Panamax segments where the company says it has ‘critical mass’.
Golden Ocean announced the sale of the six vessels on Monday for $142.5 million to an unaffiliated third party identified as Scorpio Bulkers. Net proceeds in cash from the sale will be slightly more than $100 million after the repayment of $39.2 million of associated debt.
The six Ultramax vessels (~60,000 mt) were built at Chengxi Shipyard in China and delivered between 2015 and 2017.
“The sale of these vessels strengthens our commercial focus on Capesize and Panamax vessels, where we have critical mass and that we believe will provide the greatest leverage to a recovery in the dry bulk shipping market,” commented Birgitte Ringstad Vartdal, CEO of Golden Ocean Management AS. “It also increases our financial flexibility considerably as the majority of the gross proceeds will directly increase our cash balance. We are also pleased to be in the position to take early delivery of one of our Capesize newbuildings after having secured employment for the vessel at a rate well above our cash break-even levels.”
Scorpio Bulkers identified itself as the buyer of the vessels and said the acquisition will be funded by cash on hand, as well as existing and new debt facilities which are currently under discussion with its lenders.
Separately, Golden Ocean said it has agreed to take early delivery of the Golden Nimbus, a Capesize vessel under construction at New Times Shipbuilding. Upon delivery later this month, the vessel will commence a time charter at a gross rate of $16,750 per day for a duration of between 14 and 18 months.
Including the charter, Golden Ocean said it has taken advantage of recent market strength to fix five of the 44 Capesize vessels in its 2018 operating fleet on charters of one year.
Golden Ocean currently owns or controls a fleet of 71 vessels and five Capesize newbuilding contracts. On a fully-delivered basis, Golden Ocean’s fleet will have an aggregate carrying capacity of approximately 10.4 million DWT and an average age of less than 5 years. The company’s commercial platform manages 44 additional vessels on behalf of third parties.
In addition to the six Ultramax’s sold, Golden Ocean has another two Ultramax vessels that were delivered by Japan’s JMU earlier this year.