Frontline Ltd. (“Frontline” or the “Company”) has agreed with Ship Finance International Limited (“Ship Finance”) to terminate the long term charter parties for the 1998 and 1999 built VLCCs Front Champion and Golden Victory and Ship Finance has simultaneously sold the vessels to unrelated third parties. The charter parties are expected to terminate in November 2013.
The decision to terminate the long term charter parties was taken in view of the required investment to take the vessels through the 15 year special survey and current market rates. While the VLCC spot market has recently shown some signs of recovery, there is still a fundamental oversupply in the market and the retirement of older vessels should assist in balancing the market going forward.
Frontline has agreed an aggregate compensation payment to Ship Finance of approximately $90 million for the early termination of the charter parties, of which approximately $11 million will be paid upon termination and the balance will be recorded as notes payable, with similar amortisation profiles to the current lease obligations, with reduced rates until 2015 and full rates from 2016. Front Champion and Golden Victory have the highest charter rates among the vessels Frontline has chartered in from Ship Finance and the level of compensation is a reflection of this.
These transactions will reduce the Company’s obligations under capital leases by approximately $105 million and the remaining obligations under capital leases following these terminations will be approximately $735 million related to 15 VLCCs and five Suezmax tankers.
November 7, 2013
The Board of Directors
Questions should be directed to:
Jens Martin Jensen: Chief Executive Officer, Frontline Management AS
+47 23 11 40 00
Inger M. Klemp: Chief Financial Officer, Frontline Management AS
+47 23 11 40 00
Forward Looking Statements
This press release contains forward looking statements. These statements are based upon various assumptions, many of which are based, in turn, upon further assumptions, including Frontline management’s examination of historical operating trends. Although Frontline believes that these assumptions were reasonable when made, because assumptions are inherently subject to significant uncertainties and contingencies which are difficult or impossible to predict and are beyond its control, Frontline cannot give assurance that it will achieve or accomplish these expectations, beliefs or intentions.
Important factors that, in the Company’s view, could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in this press release include the strength of world economies and currencies, general market conditions including fluctuations in charter hire rates and vessel values, changes in demand in the tanker market as a result of changes in OPEC’s petroleum production levels and world wide oil consumption and storage, changes in the Company’s operating expenses including bunker prices, dry-docking and insurance costs, changes in governmental rules and regulations or actions taken by regulatory authorities, potential liability from pending or future litigation, general domestic and international political conditions, potential disruption of shipping routes due to accidents or political events, and other important factors described from time to time in the reports filed by the Company with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.