General Maritime Corporation has agreed to acquire 19 tankers, including 14 Suezmax and 5 Aframax vessels from Metrostar Management Corporation
, a Greek tanker operator. The acquisition of the vessels is expected to commence on March 1, and to be concluded by April 30, 2003 during which time the vessels will be integrated into General Maritime's fleet operations. The acquisition of the tankers will be made for cash and is subject to the customary conditions of delivery. The Company intends to finance the acquisition through the use of cash on hand and the reserve borrowing power from its existing credit facilities as well as the incurrence of additional bank debt for which it has not yet entered into binding arrangements.
Peter C. Georgiopoulos, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President commented, "We are very excited about our acquisition of these 19 tankers. We believe that our patient and prudent approach to acquisitions has enabled us to acquire high quality modern second-hand vessels that will lower the average age of our fleet, lower many of our daily per vessel overhead costs and at the same time be accretive to earnings and provide long-term value to our company."
On a combined basis, the company's new fleet will be composed of 47 tankers, 28 Aframax and 19 Suezmax tankers, making General Maritime the second largest mid-sized tanker operator in the world. The combined fleet will have a total of 5.62 million deadweight tons, only 23% of which will be single hull compared to a worldwide average of 40%. The acquisition of the 19 tankers will provide General Maritime with an additional 2.67 million deadweight tons, with an average age as of December 31, 2002 of 9.8 years per deadweight ton. The acquisition of the new vessels will also lower the company's average age as of December 31, 2002 per deadweight ton from 12.3 years to 11.1 years. Three of the acquired tankers have
time charter contracts attached to them at an average rate of $23,700 per day.