Stelmar Shipping Ltd.
announced that it has completed, with the assistance of the Fortis Bank
, a seven year sale-lease back transaction for two of its coated Aframax tankers, the 1998-built Takamar and the 1999-built Jacamar. The deal will produce net proceeds of $71 million.
Both vessels will remain in the Stelmar fleet and will continue to earn in excess of $19,000 per day for the balance of their existing time charters of more than two years. Stelmar will realize net cash from the sale of $25 million and will record a non-operating book gain of $1 million. The sale-lease back arrangements will be completed during December 2003.
, Chief Executive Officer and President, stated, "Stelmar's refinancing of these two vessels enables the company to realize a significant amount of cash that can be deployed to fund future growth in our core Handymax and Panamax sectors. The Company intends to continue exploring opportunities to enhance our leadership position in these core markets."
Stamatis Molaris, Chief Financial Officer, commented, "The proceeds from this transaction will be utilized to decrease the Company's leverage by $45 million, which will further strengthen our balance sheet and enhance our financial flexibility. Our ability to lease back these vessels at very attractive bare boat rates will ensure that we maintain commercial control of the vessels in a manner that will not adversely effect our earnings prospects for the fourth quarter of 2003 and full-year of 2004."