Golden Ocean CEO On Weak Market: “We are in a very serious situation”

MV Golden Photo credit: Golden Ocean
MV Golden Shui. Photo credit: Golden Ocean

OSLO, Feb 18 (Reuters) – Dry bulk shipping firm Golden Ocean plans to raise $200 million in fresh equity, backed by its main owner billionaire John Fredriksen, as it continues to face weak markets for its vessels.

The share issue is a condition for refinancing total debt obligations of around $1 billion.

Below are comments from CEO Herman Billung during a fourth-quarter presentation:

ABOUT THE WEAK MARKET

“We are in a very serious situation.”

“These market conditions are not sustainable for anybody but we believe market will repair faster than any analysts expects.

“Under present market circumstances, yards are close to break even, and retail values are much lower. I don’t think people are able to order more vessels and we expect a record low order book in 2016.”

ABOUT ORDER BOOK, SCRAPPING AND MARKET BALANCE

“The order book was at 126 million dead weight tonnes (dwt) at the start of the year.

“I think there will be massive delays. I think it is a fair assumption that the order book now is 90 million dwt and it will be spread out more in time.

“25 vessels are scrapped for the year.

“20 percent of current fleet is scrapping candidates over next 2-3 years.

“We all agree the market is oversupplied, utilisation is around 75 percent.

“Market will remain soft, and with earnings below opex (operating expenses) you could see negative fleet growth in 2016.

ABOUT IDLING VESSELS

“We are seriously considering this, may be vessels at the age of 3-5 years old.

“I think you will see more of this.

“For older vessels I am confident you will see massive scrapping. (Reporting by Ole Petter Skonnord, editing by Gwladys Fouche)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2016.