J. Lauritzen Nets Cash Injection to Weather the Storm
Oslo-listed J. Lauritzen has secured a cash injection of approx. USD 19 million from its sole shareholder Lauritzen Fonden that will be used to strengthen the company’s balance sheet and improve its cash position.
The deal also stipulates for a transfer of a number of non-strategic assets and obligations to LF Investment ApS, a wholly-owned by Lauritzen Fonden. The transactions provide J. Lauritzen with additional cash of USD 125m during 2016 as the assets have a combined book value of USD 105.9m.
In addition, the transaction will include transfer of the shareholding in Axis Offshore Pte. Ltd.
Lauritzen’s net results for 2015 were USD 313.4 million compared to USD 165.7 million in 2014.
The company described the results as unsatisfactory and heavily impacted by special items totalling USD 207.2 million, composed of USD 281.9 million from impairment losses and provisions and further USD 74.7 million from compensation relating to termination of contracts, sale of claims etc.
“We are impacted by a dry cargo market which even in a 30-year time frame is all-time low and has lead to negative EBITDA and impairment losses,” says Jan Kastrup-Nielsen, President and CEO.
“J. Lauritzen, however, has in 2015 managed to keep a robust balance sheet and maintained strong relations with our core customers while redeeming USD 71m of bond debt. Our gas carrier activities continued to perform well and in line with expectations, and initiatives, which will be executed during Q1 2016, will assist us in weathering the current storm in the dry cargo segment”.
During the year, the company sold two capesize bulk carriers completing the capesize segment exit strategy. This was followed by a reduction in dry bulk exposure through sale of further 9 owned and 5 part-owned vessels and subsequent entry into gas fleet of two 10,000 cbm ethylene carriers by late 2015 and early 2016.
With regard to the outlook for 2016, the company said that it expects dry bulk freight rates to remain subdued during 2016.
“For our gas carriers a minor improvement in the market balance is expected with demand growth projected to be slightly higher than supply growth,” J.Lauritzen adds.
EBITDA for 2016 is expected to be at levels similar to 2015, offset by special items contributing positively due to the use of provisions.