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Ship Finance International Buying Hunter’s Three New VLCCs

Bermuda-based Ship Finance International has agreed to acquire three 300,000 dwt very large crude carriers (VLCCs) currently under construction at Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering.

Under the deal, signed with Hunter Tankers, a subsidiary of Norwegian investment company Hunter Group, the ships would be purchased at a price of USD 180 million, or USD 60 million per vessel, and they are expected to be delivered to SFL within the next two months.

The VLCCs in question are the Hunter Atla (5455), Hunter Saga (5456) and Hunter Laga (5460), ordered by Hunter Group in 2018. The units have all the latest eco-design features, including exhaust gas cleaning systems, according to the company.

Once delivered, the vessels will immediately commence 5-year bareboat charters to Hunter with purchase options during the charter period.

“The agreed purchase price is significantly below current broker estimates for VLCC resales, effectively providing SFL with a very attractive risk profile and the transaction will add more than USD 100 million to SFL’s fixed-rate charter backlog,” the company explained.

SFL will initially fund the acquisition from its cash position, but expect to finance a significant portion of the purchase price in the commercial bank market. The company has already received a term sheet on bank financing which “will significantly enhance the return on invested equity”.