Update: NAT has announced an option for a 7th vessel will be included as part of this fleet growth plan. The price for the 7th vessel will be $45 million, which reflects the purchase price of the other 6 vessels. Should this option be exercised, the 7th vessel will be delivered in the spring of 2015.
Nordic American Tankers (NAT) and the Ulstein Group have signed an agreement today whereby NAT will purchase six PX121-type platform supply vessels from Blue Ship Invest, an investment company within Ulstein. These new vessels will be the initial foundation of a new company called Nordic American Offshore (NAO).
These vessels, all built in 2012 and 2013, have been been under charter since delivery with positive feedback according to Ulstein.
NAT, traditionally a crude oil shipping firm within the Suezmax sector, is hoping that this move will support increased dividends to shareholders of Nordic American Tankers according to comments by Chairman and CEO HerbjÃ¸rn Hansson.
“We have significant expertise in the offshore sector, and we think this new offshore business venture will help maximize total return to NAT shareholders. We wish to extract cost synergies and to leverage the NAT customer relationship in the energy business. Our presence in the US capital market will also help us to achieve our objectives for this new project,” commented Hansson in an emailed statement.
Nordic American Offshore is expected to undertake a private equity placement to finance at least 80% of the acquisition price of these vessels. 20% or less of the cost is expected to be financed via debt.
NAT and Ulstein Shipping AS will participate in the private placement with 15%/20% and 5% respectively. The NAT investment is planned to be about $50 million.
Nordic American Offshore says they intend to seek listing on the New York Stock Exchange as soon as possible.