Fourth quarter 'looking good' for NAT CEO

Herbjorn Hansson says vessels so far earning 20% more than last quarter and equates no growth to 'death'.

Nordic American Tankers chief executive Herbjorn Hansson says Nordic American Tankers is performing well in the fourth quarter, with average time charter equivalent (TCE) rates roughly 20% better than the prior reporting period.

In a letter to shareholders, he said the New York-listed suezmax tanker owner's ships have locked in TCE rates of about $20,000 per day with just 25% of the quarter's remaining operating days yet to be fixed.

That's better than the $16,000-per-day TCE rates in the third quarter, which Hansson said was still above the company's cash break-even rate of $11,000 per day.

After dipping from $30,000 per day at the end of September to $11,500 on 8 November, average global suezmax spot earnings have surged to just under $37,000 per day as of yesterday, according to data from the Baltic Exchange.

No growth is death?

Hansson also used his letter to reiterate the importance of growing the company's fleet, which is set to reach 33 suezmaxes in 2018 when three recently ordered newbuildings are delivered from South Korean shipyard Samsung Heavy Industries.

"Any company must grow - that is a part of capitalism," Hansson wrote. "A company that does not grow is dead."

But, he says the company will continue to focus on keeping a low debt profile as it grows, and he described Oslo-based NAT's access to financing as a competitive advantage in today's markets.

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