PSV Energy Duchess; Source: Golden Energy Offshore Services

Five Vroon vessels joining Norwegian player’s fleet

Norwegian vessel owner and operator Golden Energy Offshore Services (GEOS) is expanding its fleet of offshore supply vessels, thanks to a binding memorandum of agreements for the acquisition of four platform supply vessels (PSVs) and one safety & standby vessel (SSV) from subsidiaries of the Netherlands’ Vroon Holding, for a total consideration of $94 million.

PSV Energy Duchess; Source: Golden Energy Offshore Services

According to GEOS, this fleet acquisition ensures considerable accretive growth for its vessel fleet, increasing the firm’s ability to seize market opportunities within the oil and gas and offshore wind sectors going forward. The acquisition is expected to be completed around the end of September 2023 and a deposit of $9.4 million will be paid to Vroon in early August.

The four PSVs are of the same PX 121 design as GEOS’ existing fully-owned Energy Duchess and Energy Empress vessels, providing flexibility in chartering as well as OPEX savings. On the other hand, the SSV VOS Sugar is a versatile multi-purpose commissioning support vessel. With an SPS class for 40 persons, capacity for a walk-to-work gangway, and a small crane, it has been used in both the oil & gas and offshore wind markets

Per Ivar Fagervoll, CEO of GEOS, commented: “This transaction marks an important milestone for the company. It shows that we have the ambition and ability to seek and secure transformational growth opportunities which we expect will create considerable value for our shareholders and pave the way for further growth.

“We are also proud of the fact that we have managed to attract high-quality institutional investors such as Oaktree Capital Management, who have sought to pursue further exposure to our sectors through their investment in GEOS.”

The company claims that its PX 121 vessels are large PSVs providing supply services to the oil and gas market but may also be outfitted with accommodation units and gangways to opportunistically serve the offshore wind market. The five vessels, which are part of the Vroon acquisition, are built in 2015 and 2016, lowering GEOS’ average fleet age to 7.9 years.

Golden Energy Offshore Services intends to finance this fleet acquisition through a combination of debt and new equity. To that end, the company revealed that funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management had given notification of its decision to exercise warrants for 57,773,761 shares – approximately 49.99 per cent of the outstanding share capital, fully diluted – at the exercise price of NOK 1.0 per share, providing the Norwegian firm with NOK 57.77 million ($5.7 million) in new equity.

Fredrik Ulstein, Vice President at Oaktree and Board Member of GEOS, stated: “Since partnering with GEOS in July 2022, Oaktree has focused on re-positioning the company as a provider of modern tonnage with the potential to serve both the offshore oil and gas and the offshore renewables market. The fleet acquisition represents the ideal transaction, and we are excited to formally partner up with GEOS through the exercise of the warrants and to continue building on a strong strategic relationship.”

Moreover, Oaktree has extended a bridge loan of $3.3 million gross, $2.75 million net to GEOS, which proceeds shall be used to help pay the deposit. This is a three-month unsecured loan, carrying an interest of 12 per cent p.a. The proceeds of the exercised warrants, the bridge and cash in the company are expected to be sufficient to fund the deposit.

In addition, GEOS has received a term sheet from Fleetscape Capital, a subsidiary of Oaktree and the firm’s largest lender, for a five-year $98.6 million sale and leaseback transaction for the five vessels in the fleet acquisition plus the Energy Duchess and Energy Empress vessels. If utilised, this will refinance the existing Fleetscape facility in addition to providing funds towards the fleet acquisition.

Guillaume Bayol, Managing Director at Oaktree, remarked: “Oaktree is excited to expand on the strong relationship with GEOS, and facilitate the acquisition of an attractive fleet of modern and versatile vessels. The fleet acquisition represents a transformative opportunity for GEOS to solidify its position as a preferred owner and operator of high-specification PSVs, and puts the company in pole position to take advantage of a rapidly improving offshore market.”

In a bid to evaluate overall financing alternatives, both debt and equity, in connection with the fleet acquisition, GEOS engaged Arctic Securities and Fearnley Securities as financial advisors. During July 2023, Golden Energy Offshore Services achieved time charter equivalent earnings of approximately $19,162 per day and fleet utilisation of 99 per cent.