Teekay Tankers inks $153m sale and leaseback deal

Owner says four suezmaxes offloaded to strengthen balance sheet as profit shrinks.

New York-listed Teekay Tankers has agreed a $153m sale and leaseback deal to boost its balance sheet.

The shipowner said four modern suezmaxes have gone to an unnamed third party and chartered in again over 12 years.

"The transaction, once completed, is expected to further strengthen the company's balance sheet and increase the company's liquidity position by $30m," it said.

The deal should close in mid-2017.

Teekay also announced a lower profit of $2.82m in the first quarter, from $38.98m in 2016.

Revenue fell to $125.09m against $164.95m.

It blamed lower spot tanker rates and losses from the sale of two suezmaxes and two MRs.

CEO Kevin Mackay said: "While spot tanker rates were largely in-line with those for the fourth quarter of 2016, the tanker market experienced downward pressure over the course of the recent quarter, primarily due to heavy refinery maintenance, OPEC supply cuts and higher tanker fleet growth.

"Overall, we anticipate the tanker market to weaken into 2017 as a result of ongoing OPEC supply cuts and higher tanker fleet growth."

But he said robust global oil demand growth and changing trading patterns due to OPEC supply cuts are expected to provide support to mid-size tanker demand as more crude oil moves long-haul from the Atlantic basin to Asia.

Looking ahead to 2018, the company anticipates a renewed market upturn driven by a lack of new tanker ordering, increased scrapping due to regulatory changes, and a more balanced oil market.