Billionaire shipowner John Fredriksen has good news for other tanker owners.

The tycoon, who celebrated his 80th birthday over the weekend, told Norwegian newspaper Finansavisen: “This could be the start of a multi-year recovery cycle in tankers.”

He noted that the orderbook is historically low, despite a recent uptick in shipyard contracts, and the world still needs oil.

Fredriksen has had great success in tankers over the years and remains the biggest shareholder in Oslo-listed owner Frontline.

He declined to comment on plans for further consolidation in the sector through Frontline.

Fredriksen also controls a 16% stake in US-listed International Seaways, which is finally allowing one of his representatives onto its board after months of hostile comments from both sides.

“Here we have brought in a representative on the board,” Fredriksen said.

“We want to contribute our knowledge and expertise so that together we can maximise shareholder value for the owners of the shipping company.”

The magnate would not be drawn on succession planning for his public and private holdings.

The private Seatankers shipowning group has broadened its investments in recent years, putting money into property and private equity.

“We want to be diversified, but in a way that we only invest in what we can. We work daily to design our investment portfolio in this way,” he told Finansavisen.

Good liquidity

“We have no direct recipe or idea of how exactly this split should be going forward. What we are concerned with is having good liquidity in the portfolio and investment capacity should interesting opportunities arise.”

Fredriksen also has a major stake in Oslo-listed offshore support vessel owner DOF Group and is the largest shareholder in wind farm ship player Edda Wind.

Asked whether he had considered offshore consolidation, he replied: “This is something we are constantly assessing.

“The most important thing for us is to create shareholder value by operating as efficiently and cost-consciously as possible, which we have historically succeeded in doing.”