Wednesday, July 4, 2012

DS Crown - Frontline taking a bath

Frontline, the world's largest tanker owner, with something like 40 Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs) has been experiencing the roller coaster ride of all time with huge losses, last minute bailouts and more huge losses. Its majority owner, John Frederiksen (Norway's richest man-but now a resident of Cyprus-at least on paper) owns the majority of the ships through another of his companies and bailed the company out last year by agreeing to reduce charter rates. This has apparently not been enough, and we are now seeing an example of what is happening.
The VLCC Front Crown (built in 1999, 157,863 gross tons, 311,168 deadweight tonnes) has been sold and renamed while sitting at anchor in Halifax harbour. Now called  DS Crown the ship came off a lucrative charter in late 2011. Without that charter, the ship's value plummeted to less than book value and has now been sold (at another  loss one assumes.)
Somehow Frederiksen, who is a supreme speculator, manages to come out with most of his fortune intact - he pledged $500mn of his $13bn to rescue Frontline in December.
Meanwhile the giant ship, with its funnel mark painted out and its name economically changed, awaits orders, and may sail at any time.

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