NAT CEO Cautiously Optimistic about Tanker Market Outlook

Nordic American Tankers Limited (NAT) expects to achieve rates in the region of USD 35,000 per day for its fleet for the first quarter in 2015 reaping the fruits of a very strong year start for the tanker market.

NAT’s Chairman & CEO Herbjorn Hansson said that there are bright spots on the horizon after a downturn on the Suezmax tanker market the impact of which lingered since 2008.

“Our commercial performance this quarter should result in a significantly higher dividend than in 4Q2014 and is a fine testament to the income potential and commercial results of our fleet.  An announcement of the 1Q2015 dividend can be expected in mid-April.  As we move into the second quarter, the tanker market remains encouraging,” Hansson added.  

The current upswing in the tanker market has been attributed to the drop in the oil price in the second half of last year, along with the balancing out between the industry fundamentals.

NAT has seen demand for tankers rising as both volumes and trading distances for its vessels. This has been against the background of a slow increase in the number of tanker vessels in operation worldwide – the supply side of the equation.

“NAT’s low cost breakeven of $12,000 per day means that our vessels are producing significant cashflow in the present market. Should the strong market we see in 1Q2015 continue, NAT should be in a position to pay significantly higher dividends than in the recent past. Going forward, the payment of quarterly dividends to shareholders will continue to be a central part of the NAT strategy,” Hansson said.

“We also continue to focus on maximizing total return (unlevered internal rate of return as the economists call it) and intend to grow our fleet further, beyond our 24 suezmaxes, when we believe it is commercially beneficial to do so. We grew the fleet by four vessels last year, including the two Korean newbuildings. We have our strong position intact and we anticipate positive conditions going forward,” he concluded.

Image courtesy: DN GL/Damir Cvetojevic