LNG Company To Be Listed

Friday, May 18, 2001
Norwegian shipping magnate John Fredriksen's Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) transport company Golar LNG said on Friday it raised $280 million in a private placement and planned to list in Oslo and later this year in New York. The company, which will become the first pure LNG transport company to be listed, said it had issued 56 million shares at $5 each in the placement and that Fredriksen had taken a 50 percent stake in the firm. "We sold 140 (million dollars worth) externally and John took 140 (million dollars worth)," Golar LNG director Tor Olav Troim said. Oslo investment banks Fearnleys and Orkla managed the placement of the 28 million shares with private investors. "Golar LNG will be traded OTC (over-the-counter) in about a week and will go to the Oslo stock exchange in about three weeks time," Fearnleys partner Harald Moreus Hanssen said. "The company has stated a clear intention to follow up with a New York listing this autumn," he added. "They plan to have two very active listings with full liquidity. The proceeds of the IPO will be used to buy the LNG shipping assets of one of John Fredriksen's existing tanker companies, Osprey Maritime. Osprey Maritime owns six highly prized tankers for transporting LNG -- natural gas which is deep frozen until it liquefies at a tiny fraction of its gaseous volume for shipping to terminals where it is re-gasified. Fredriksen acquired the tankers earlier this year, having bought out the U.K.'s Barclay Brothers and Indonesia's Suharto family to take control of Osprey Maritime. Since acquiring Osprey, Fredriksen has stripped out several old crude tankers and 12 petroleum products tankers from the fleet and rebranded the company to make it more attractive. Besides the six LNG tankers, Golar has options to build four more similar vessels at yards in South Korea. This would take the total value of the company to $1 billion, according to Freshly Minted, the newsletter of shipping finance consultancy Marine Money Capital Partners (MMCP). Nicolai Heidenreich of MMCP suggested that the money raised in the Oslo listing might also go towards firming up the four options at the South Korean shipyards prior to the New York listing. Four of Fredriksen's LNG tankers are tied into long-term contracts with BG Group, which recently announced it had tied up all spare capacity atCS Energy's Lake Charles, La., facility, one of only two functioning import terminals serving booming U.S. energy markets.

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