Chairman Jacques de Chateauvieux told investors today the giant sell-off of modern vessels and newbuildings fits current trends in the wider business world.

He explains the move has come about to support the latest phase of the company’s widely-known expansion plans.

He says the vessels will be sold in 2013 and 2014 and taken back on 10-year bareboat charters.

The board has told executives the sell-off must not top 30% of the fleet, with the majority of cash used to pay down debt, he says. 

de Chateauvieux explains the “asset smart” strategy fits the fashion today where investors are looking for assets with guaranteed returns over a long period of time.

He compares the ploy to that of property firms renting stores on the Champs-Elysees to fashion labels such as Louis Vuitton.

de Chateauvieux says funds will have a significant impact on the financial capacity of the company as it executes its growth plan.

Bourbon today announced it saw operating profit climbed by almost 90% to EUR 161.6m ($210.77m) in 2012 helped by asset sales and higher rates. 

Analysts note EBITDA of EUR 406m, up by a third on 2011, passed the EUR 394m forecast.

Late last year Bourbon cashed in a trio of PSVs in a sale-and-leaseback deal with Pareto.