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Nordic American rules out bond offering

Finance options: Nordic American Tankers has a fleet of 33 Suezmax tankers, including three newly-built vessels that are joining its fleet this year. It has two of its ships up for sale (Photograph by AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Bermudian-headquartered Nordic American Tankers has decided it will not conduct a bond offering to raise additional capital.

In an open letter to shareholders and investors, the company noted improving conditions in the tanker market.

The company has a fleet of 33 Suezmax tankers, including three new tankers that are being delivered this year. It has two of its fleet vessels up for sale. NAT has not made a profit during the past two years, and reported a net debt of $266 million at the end of the first quarter.

The company previously announced it was planning a recapiltaisation programme — to be finalised by the end of the second quarter — designed to replace its existing revolving credit facility that dates back to 2004.

However, in a letter to shareholders and investors this week, the company said: “In the course of the last nine months, the financial position of NAT has changed much to the better.

“It is worth noting that the expected improvement in the tanker market is becoming clearer. We also brought this up in our February 2018 report.

“We have now decided that it is not in the best interest of NAT shareholders to conduct a bond offering.

“NAT has financial flexibility through a large Suezmax fleet and a long standing co-operation with our customers; oil and energy companies, including oil traders.

“Our lending and investment banks in the US and Europe play key roles in NAT. The debt per ship of NAT is low — below the scrap value of each ship.”

The company said that “when conditions change” it is its policy “to retain its expansionary business model that has been rewarding over many years”. It said it expects to immediately reap the benefits of an upswing in the tanker markets.

Shares of NAT rose 21 per cent on Monday when the letter to shareholders was released, to $2.62.

Disclosure: the writer owns shares in Nordic American Tankers.