Tsakos Energy Navigation Limited
announced that it has taken delivery of two new vessels
from Imabari Shipyards in Japan. The aframax Marathon was delivered on January 22, and immediately entered into an accretive repositioning voyage with a major South American oil concern. The panamax Maya, the first in a series of four new fully coated panamaxes, was received on January 24, and also immediately entered into an accretive repositioning voyage with a major Asian oil concern. Including these two vessels, TEN expects to add 6 newbuildings to its fleet in 2003.
"TEN is proud to begin the new year by enhancing one of the youngest and most efficient oil tanker fleets in the world," stated Nikolas P. Tsakos, President and CEO. He added, "The attractive rates that we have secured for these vessels are indicative of the improving market that we have been observing over the last three months. We are pleased that these vessels are immediately generating revenue, which will positively impact earnings and enhance shareholder value. As we have stated in the past, TEN will continue to seek additional attractive opportunities to add new vessels and dispose of older vessels."
Overall TEN has 13 vessels operating with medium or long-term employment charters or contracts accounting for 51% of estimated operating days for 2003, which provides a sustainable flow of revenue and profits. TEN's remaining vessels are enjoying the prevailing firm spot market. Mr. Tsakos stated, "During the coming months TEN will seek to fix additional vessels for longer periods at attractive, earnings accretive rates."
Financing arrangements for the Marathon and the Maya were previously secured, and financing for the remainder of the newbuilding program is well advanced. TEN has arranged financing for the remaining aframax and one of the three additional panamaxes scheduled for delivery 2003. Remaining financing needs include two panamaxes scheduled for delivery in the second half of 2003 and one handy-size products carrier to be delivered in 2004.
TEN also announced today that it has entered into a new US$50 million interest rate swap agreement for a term of five years. As previously announced by the Company, the board of directors has affected a change to TEN's policy on interest rate swap agreements to ensure that any new swap agreements would be strictly hedges, eliminating any volatile effect to quarterly earnings per share