Norwegian roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) provider Höegh Autoliners has exercised an option to purchase back another one of its bareboat chartered vessels—its fifth such deal in the less than a year.
Höegh Autoliners ASA announced this week a an agreement to terminate the bareboat charter for the Höegh Berlin and purchase the vessel for a purchase price of $34.25 million. The 7,850 CEU capacity vessel was taken over on March 1.
Höegh Berlin was built by Höegh at Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (“DSME”) in 2005 and is one of a series of vessels the company built at DSME between 2004 and 2010. The vessel was sold in 2009 and chartered back to Höegh Autoliners under a bareboat charter agreement.
Höegh Autoliners said the average market value of the vessel estimated by three different brokers was $59 million as of the end of Q4 2022.
The deal marks the fifth bareboat chartered vessel Höegh has purchased back in less than a year, following Höegh Beijing, Höegh Tracer, Höegh Trapper and Höegh St. Petersburg. The company said the purchase of Höegh Berlin will reduce the long-term cash capacity cost for the vessel as well as realize additional value gains from taking direct ownership to leased vessels.
Höegh said it intends to register Höegh Berlin under the Norwegian flag (NIS) after the transfer of ownership, bringing its number of vessels registered in Norway to 28 out of 31 in its technically-managed fleet—making it one of the largest owners in terms of the deadweight ton (DWT) in the Norwegian register.
Höegh Autoliners has also announced that, as of 1 March 2023, it has taken ownership of Höegh Tracer, according to the earlier announcement of the exercise option.
“With the delivery of Höegh Berlin and Höegh Tracer, Höegh Autoliners is again demonstrating our commitment to serve and build long term relationship with our customers based on a fleet we own and control,” said Per Øivind Rosmo, CFO of Höegh Autoliners. “After the purchase of the leased vessels, we will have a fleet of 31 owned vessels, 3 BB chartered vessels with purchase option and 3 vessels chartered in on medium term Time-Charters. This gives us limited exposure to the currently tight and expensive Time-Charter market.
“Höegh Berlin has done a very good job for us and our customers since we built her in 2005 and is very well suited for our established and balanced trade systems from Asia to Europe and the US with return to Asia via South Africa and Australia or the Middle East.
“Together with the Horizon class vessels (8,500 CEU capacity) and the Aurora class vessels under construction (9,100 CEU capacity), the series of 7,850 CEU vessels built at Daewoo represents one of the largest and most environmentally friendly PCTC fleet. These large and fuel-efficient vessels are an important part of our ambition to continue to reduce our carbon intensity and the journey towards being carbon neutral by 2040,” Rosmo said.
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