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John Fredriksen steps down as chairman and president of Frontline

Billionaire shipping magnate John Fredriksen has stepped down as chairman and president of Bermudian-headquartered Frontline Ltd, one of the world’s largest oil tanker shipping companies.

Ola Lorentzon has been appointed chairman of Frontline, succeeding Mr Fredriksen.

Both Mr Fredriksen and Mr Lorentzon were re-elected as directors at the firm’s annual general meeting last week, before the changes were announced.

The change comes only eight months after the company’s chief executive officer Robert Hvide Macleod stepped down.

At the AGM, James O’Shaughnessy and Tor Svelland were also re-elected to the board. The board resolved to set the maximum number of directors at eight, and that vacancies in the number of directors be designated as casual vacancies and that the board be authorised to fill such vacancies as and when it deems fit.

The board approved the remuneration of the directors of a total amount of fees not to exceed $600,000 for the year ended December 31, 2021.

Frontline reported net income of $28.9 million, or 15 cents per diluted share for the first quarter. Adjusted net income was $8.8 million, or four cents per share. Total operating revenues for the quarter were $194 million.

The company reported spot time charter equivalent rates for very large crude carriers, Suezmax and LR2 tankers in the first quarter of $19,000, $15,200 and $12,000 per day, respectively.

For the second quarter, Frontline estimates spot TCE on a load-to-discharge basis of $18,100 contracted for 70 per cent of vessel days for VLCCs, $13,600 contracted for 63 per cent of vessel days for Suezmax tankers and $14,200 contracted for 59 per cent of vessel days for LR2 tankers.

The company said it expects the spot TCEs for the full second quarter to be lower than the TCEs currently contracted, due to the impact of ballast days at the end of the second quarter as well as current freight rates.

In March and April, respectively, the company took delivery of the LR2 newbuildings Front Fusion and Front Future.

In May, it entered into an agreement for the acquisition through resale of six latest generation ECO-type VLCC newbuilding contracts currently under construction at the HHI shipyard in South Korea.

Five vessels will be delivered during 2022 starting in Q1 and the last vessel in Q1 2023, the company said.

Lars Barstad, interim chief executive officer of Frontline Management AS, said: “Despite challenging market conditions during the first quarter of 2021, Frontline manages to deliver a solid result. This reflects our business model, with high focus on efficiency, quality, and cost throughout the organisation.

“Frontline’s modern fleet allows for an agile approach to how we trade our ships, yielding returns above the key benchmarks.

“We are not out of the woods yet with regards to freight demand, and the recent Covid-19 situation in Asia is a concern.

“We are seeing promising oil demand figures from Europe, US, and China and Opec, EIA, and IEA maintain their very firm demand growth expectations for the second half of 2021, but short-term the freight market continues to be challenged.

“We are very excited about our acquisition of six VLCCs being built at Hyundai Heavy Industries in Korea. These high-quality vessels will be delivered at a time when oil demand is expected to have normalised and the global economy is running on full steam.

“The fundamentals of the tanker market remain firm, with an historic low order book and a significant part of the fleet challenged by tightening environmental regulations.”

John Fredriksen: has stepped down as chairman and president of Frontline Ltd (File photograph)

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Published May 31, 2021 at 1:03 pm (Updated May 31, 2021 at 1:04 pm)

John Fredriksen steps down as chairman and president of Frontline

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