Okeanis Eco Tankers Corp. (“OET” or the “Company”) announces that it has signed a memorandum of agreement for the sale of the VLCC crude tankers Nissos Santorini and Nissos Antiparos (the “second-hand VLCCs”, built in 2019 at Hyundai Heavy Industries, South Korea) to an unaffiliated third party (the “Sale”) for a net consideration of $180 million (the “Sale Price”). The Sale was concluded on a charter-free basis, and is anticipated to be completed upon delivery of the final vessel to her new owners by latest November 2021.
In addition, the Company has entered into an agreement to acquire two ECO-design, open loop scrubber-fitted 300,000 DWT VLCC crude tankers (“resale VLCCs”) under construction at Hyundai Heavy Industries, South Korea (the “Acquisition”) from entities controlled by OET’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Ioannis Alafouzos (the “Sponsor”), for $194 million (the “Acquisition Price”) delivering in Q1 2022 and Q2 2022, respectively. The resale VLCCs are designed to operate on alternative fuels, including Biofuel, and to be retrofitted to consume lower carbon fuels such as LNG or Methanol once the required technology, bunkering infrastructure and regulatory framework is in place. The resale VLCCs are compliant with EEDI Phase 2 requirements and fitted with a Low Pressure SCR for NOx compliance.
The M&A subcommittee of the Company’s Board of Directors (the “Board”) – majority-composed of Investor Directors – deemed that the three-year, age-adjusted Acquisition Price ($97 million/VLCC) compared very favourably to the Sale Price ($90 million/VLCC), and estimated that the Acquisition will be immediately accretive to the Company’s net asset value upon delivery of the resale VLCCs in 2022.
The Company has received firm indications for low cost, high LTV delivery financing from multiple large and reputable financial institutions, and calculates that the anticipated capital structure of the resale VLCCs will reduce daily cash breakeven costs (and thus enhance cash generation) by $3,100 per ship and accelerate equity build-up by approximately $1 million p.a. per ship relative to the current lease financing of the second-hand VLCCs despite carrying (roughly) the same leverage. The Sale and Acquisition will also reduce the already industry-low average age of the Company’s fleet and improve its emissions performance.
The Sale is expected to generate net proceeds of approximately $40 million after repayment of lease financing outstanding at delivery. Upon completion of the Sale, the Board intends to propose a shareholder distribution(s) of $20-23 million and OET will pay the Sponsor $17 million, representing the difference between the Acquisition Price and $177 million (the “Original Contract Price”). Additionally, in connection with the Acquisition, OET and the Sponsor have agreed that repayment of twenty percent of the resale VLCCs’ Original Contract Price — $35 million — settled between the Sponsor and the shipyard may be deferred, at OET’s sole discretion, to any date before the end of June 1, 2024 at a cost of 3.5% fixed interest p.a. on the outstanding amount commencing from the date of the resale VLCCs’ delivery. The distribution(s) will be achieved through a write-down of paid-in capital, which requires Board approval only and is not a taxable event.
Lastly, OET announces that it has entered into an agreement to replace its time charters on the VLCCs Nissos Rhenia and Nissos Despotiko.
In exchange, OET has agreed to undertake the following actions:
Transfer the remaining ~2.0 year time charter of the VLCC Nissos Keros to a leading international energy company to the Nissos Despotiko and accelerate debt repayment of the Nissos Despotiko lease by $1.8m p.a. over the next two years; and
Transfer the remaining ~0.5 year time charter of the VLCC Nissos Donoussa to a leading national oil company to the Nissos Rhenia, accelerate debt repayment of the Nissos Rhenia lease by $1.8m p.a. over the next two years and adjust the lease facility’s margin over LIBOR over the corresponding period slightly upwards to reflect the shorter duration of the replacement time charter.
The VLCCs Nissos Keros and Nissos Donoussa will thus be available for trading in the spot market immediately.
The combined effects of today’s announcement and the announcement of the Aframax/LR2 fleet sale in the stock exchange notice dated May 12, 2021 are [i] a decrease in the Company’s fleet from seventeen to fourteen tankers; [ii] a decrease in the average fleet age from three to two years; [iii] an increase in the Company’s VLCC spot market exposure by 1.2 VLCC-equivalents throughout calendar year 2022; [iv] a decrease in financial leverage; and [v] anticipated total capital distributions to OET shareholders arising from ship sales only (ex-operating cash flow) of approximately $60-65 million within calendar year 2021.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ioannis Alafouzos commented:
“Our actions will enable OET to optimize and increase its VLCC spot exposure ahead of what we believe will be an explosive tanker market recovery this winter. We have a very constructive crude tanker market view, and are pleased that we are able to better position our company to capitalize on the anticipated positive developments while continuing to return capital – as always promised – to our shareholders.”
John Papaioannou, CFO
+30 210 4804099
This information is subject to disclosure requirements pursuant to Section 5-12 of the Norwegian Securities Trading Act.
ABOUT OKEANIS ECO TANKERS CORP.
Okeanis Eco Tankers Corp. is a pure play eco and scrubber-fitted tanker company that owns and operates a fleet of fourteen modern, high-specification crude oil tankers in the VLCC and Suezmax segments.
FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS
Matters discussed in this release may contain certain forward-looking statements relating to the business, financial performance and results of the Company and/or the industry in which it operates, sometimes identified by the words “believes”, “expects”, “intends”, “anticipates”, “forecast” and similar expressions. The forward-looking statements contained in this release, including assumptions, opinions and views of the Company or cited from third-party sources, are solely opinions and forecasts that are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual events to differ materially from any anticipated development. The Company does not provide any assurance that the assumptions underlying such forward-looking statements are free from errors, nor does the Company accept any responsibility for the future accuracy of the opinions expressed in the presentation or the actual occurrence of the forecast developments. No obligations are assumed to update any forward-looking statements or to conform to these forward-looking statements to actual results.
The information, opinions and forward-looking statements contained in this announcement speak only as at its date and are subject to change without notice.