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Tanker company upbeat on market return

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Bermuda-based Nordic American Tankers Ltd is planning for a brighter future as it weathers difficult present conditions, its boss has said.

Herbjorn Hansson, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of the oil tanker company, said: “These are challenging times for any business. The actions we take today will position NAT for rapid growth once life settles down again.

“A good sailor always keeps his eye on the horizon as well as on his boat, and we are looking at that horizon and preparing ourselves for what the market will be like in the coming year or two.”

Mr Hansson was addressing “shareholders and investors and other contacts” as the company reported a second quarter net loss of $28.7 million or earnings per share of -$0.18.

That compares to the previous quarter net loss of $25 million or an EPS of -$0.16.

The second quarter last year gave a net profit of $49.2 million and an EPS of $0.33.

Mr Hansson said: “Demand for oil is going up. Opec is raising its output. Current high oil, gas and electricity prices are a sign of an energy market in need for more.

“With ample spare capacity of oil, it is only a matter of time before even more oil will hit the energy markets. This is good news for NAT.”

He added: “Our asset values are continuing to increase on back of increased prices for steel, copper and other raw materials. The value of our high quality asset base and excellent relationships with our customers and lenders give NAT flexibility.

“We have recently announced that we are planning to sell a few of our vessels in combination with purchase of a similar number of more recent vintage ships.

“We had more than 30 Suezmax tankers a few years ago when we slimmed our fleet to 25 ships. Now we believe it is the right time to expand for the future.

“History has repeatedly shown that when tanker markets turn, they do so quickly and forcefully. NAT is well positioned for that moment.”

Mr Hansson said the average time charter equivalent for its fleet during the second quarter came in at $7,800 per day per ship – this was down from 1Q 2021 at $9,400.

He added: “As an illustration of the potential, the same quarter last year gave a TCE for our fleet of $48,400 per day per vessel. The market during the first half of 2020 was good. In the same period this year, rates were down. The upside is significant.”

Mr Hansson said the Covid-19 pandemic “has lasted longer than we anticipated in early 2020”, adding: “The changing of crews on our ships takes place at normal intervals. We have managed these processes as well as possible, always with a view to providing safety for our crews.”

The company reported a dividend of one cent per share for the second quarter, payable on October 14 to shareholders on record September 24.

Mr Hansson said: “Dividend is a priority for NAT. This is our 96th consecutive quarterly dividend payment. When earnings improve, higher dividends can be expected.”

He added: “Our industry network and close customer relationships with major oil companies and traders are based on trust, fleet quality and on our people.

“We are proud of the excellent vetting record of our vessels, perhaps the best sign of a tanker company’s reliability. Vetting is the scorecard provided by our customers.

“NAT has sound corporate governance principles. The company has zero tolerance for corruption. Our policy is to underpromise and overdeliver.”

Herbjorn Hansson, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Nordic American Tankers Ltd (File photograph)
Future planning: Nordic American Tankers Ltd is planning for a market upturn after reporting a second quarter net loss of $28.7 million (File photograph)

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Published August 30, 2021 at 2:06 pm (Updated August 30, 2021 at 2:06 pm)

Tanker company upbeat on market return

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