New Teekay arm uses Oslo cash to splash on tankers

Owner forms new company through over-the-counter raise that is grabbing tonnage and seemingly usurping Teekay Tankers

Teekay Corp has formed a second tanker-owning subsidiary that is already buying up aframax and suezmax tonnage after raising funds on Oslo’s over-the-counter (OTC) exchange, sources tell TradeWinds this week.

The new entity has been linked to a $120m buy of four modern aframaxes from Montanari of Italy, and is believed to be purchasing suezmaxes from the Teekay parent company.

The move is seen as an opportunistic play on bargain valuations for secondhand crude tankers.

But it is likely to raise questions about the status of existing company Teekay Tankers, the subsidiary that has focused on crude and products tonnage.

While sources familiar with the process say the OTC company will appeal to a different base of investors, its formation is likely to highlight the limitations facing New York-listed Teekay Tankers.

It comes only days after Teekay Tankers announced the departure of chief executive Bruce Chan, who is quitting on 20 June after more than 18 years in the organisation (see story, page 23).

Teekay Tankers not only acquired assets at valuations higher than today’s levels but has been sidetracked by other issues.

Its hopes to grow through long-range-two (LR2) products-tanker newbuildings at South Korea’s STX Offshore & Shipbuilding have been dashed by the yard’s financial woes and a lack of refund guarantees.

At the same time, Teekay Tankers has had to operate two VLCCs owned by Nobu Su’s bankrupt Today Makes Tomorrow (TMT) after that company defaulted on ship mortgages extended by Teekay.

Sources suggest the new company may now be a buyer of four Bohai-built suezmax sisters — the 159,000-dwt Shelling Spirit, Tianlong Spirit, Jiaolong Spirit and Dilong Spirit (all built 2009) — that previously might have been assumed headed for Teekay Tankers.

The Montanari tankers are the 109,000-dwt Hudong-built sisterships Vallesina, Valfoglia, Valbrenta (all built 2009) and Valdarno (built 2010).

Funds raised through the OTC campaign may also allow the new company to target further tonnage, some suggest, and prospects may not be limited to tankers.

But, at least for the moment, the focus is on secondhand aframaxes and suezmaxes — interestingly precisely the sort of tonnage Chan had described as prospective growth areas for Teekay Tankers when questioned by equity analysts in November following its earnings release.

“I think that is the key question on the crude side,” said Chan in response to a question from Evercore Partners analyst Jonathan Chappell.

He added: “We have got to look at the newbuilding prices and the eco fuel-efficient designs relative to what may be even more depressed secondhand modern ships on the water, which we know through our technical abilities can eco-refit a lot of those ships to narrow the gap between a newbuilding eco and a secondhand ship on the water.

“And so the maths may very well favour on-water assets going forward in our return to growth and renewing the fleet.

“Our preference is to stick to our core traditional segments of aframax and suezmax.”

Teekay did not respond to a request for comment by TradeWinds’ deadline.