OSLO—Frontline has agreed to buy 10 Suezmax oil tankers from Trafigura in a cash and share deal worth up to $675 million which will make the Geneva-based trading firm a large shareholder in the shipping group.
Under the terms of the deal Trafigura will take an 8.5% stake in Frontline, valued at $128 million, and will receive a cash payment of between $538 million and $547 million, the companies said on Aug. 23.
Frontline and Trafigura, together with dry bulk shipping firm Golden Ocean, announced a marine fuel partnership earlier this month ahead of a shake-up in regulation that will enforce cleaner fuels for ships.
The Suezmax tanker deal will allow Frontline, which is controlled by Norwegian-born billionaire John Fredriksen, to boost its future dividends, the Oslo-listed tanker operator said.
“The structure of the transaction creates an immediate impact to our earnings at a time when we expect freight rates to increase significantly,” Frontline CEO Robert Hvide Macleod said in a statement.
Frontline has already agreed to time-charter all 10 vessels, which were built this year and fitted with exhaust gas cleaning systems, from Trafigura until the acquisition is closed.
Frontline also has an option to buy an additional four vessels.
Trafigura sees “significant upside potential in our equity investment in Frontline, a company with vast commercial scale and capabilities with whom we already enjoy a close working relationship,” its global head of wet freight, Rasmus Bach Nielsen, said in the statement.
Frontline’s fleet will consist of 75 vessels after the transaction, including newbuilds. The company’s shares rose following the announcement, trading 5.5% higher.
Plan would allow Platts to include US crude in its benchmark.
Both Brent and WTI contracts surged more than 4% on March 5 after OPEC and allies, together called OPEC+, extended oil output cuts into April, granting small exemptions to Russia and Kazakhstan.
The market has been expecting the OPEC+ group of producers to ease supply cuts but sources say some key members had suggested that oil output across the OPEC+ group should be kept unchanged.