Safe Bulkers, Inc. (the “Company”) (NYSE: SB), an international provider of marine drybulk transportation services, announced today that it has entered into three credit agreements with Japanese governmental financial institutions amounting to US $122.4 million to finance the acquisition of three Japanese Post-Panamax class newbuild vessels.
The previously-announced vessel acquisitions from Japanese shipyards relate to one vessel which was delivered in 2010 and two vessels which are expected to be delivered in 2011 and 2012, respectively. The structure of the financing is in accordance with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development-approved export credit schemes. The amount is repayable over twelve years with very competitive financial terms. The credit agreements were concluded with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, (the “JBIC”), and Citibank Japan, Ltd acting as lead arranger.
The JBIC is the international wing of Japan Finance Corporation, a Japanese governmental financial institution which conducts lending, investment and guarantee operations while complementing private sector financial institutions, promoting Japanese industry. Nippon Export and Investment Insurance, the official export credit agency of Japan, insured almost half of the amount. Safe Bulkers, Inc. is believed to be the first Greece-based shipping company to enter into financing arrangements of this kind with Japanese governmental financial institutions. The transaction expands the Company’s strong relationships with Japanese counterparties, from shipyards and charterers to Japanese financial institutions.
Polys Hajioannou, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Company, commented: “Over many years we have established extensive relationships with major Japanese shipyards and charterers. We have ordered 26 newbuild vessels in Japanese yards, while a large percentage of our fleet is chartered with major Japanese charterers. These three credit agreements now expand our cooperation with Japanese counterparties to the financial sector as well. We are proud, after extensive efforts, to become the first 2 Greece-based shipping company to enter into this kind of financing arrangement with Japanese governmental institutions and a private bank in Japan, demonstrating the depth of our relations with the Japanese market. Our recently completed equity offering with net proceeds of approximately US $39.6 million and these three credit agreements amounting to US $122.4 million, further strengthen our liquidity position. We have an ongoing newbuilding program and we may pursue further attractive vessel acquisition opportunities, with new vessel designs currently under development by leading Japanese shipyards, complying with upcoming regulations and incorporating technology advancements providing for energy efficiency and environmental protection.’’
About Safe Bulkers, Inc.
The Company is an international provider of marine drybulk transportation services, transporting bulk cargoes, particularly coal, grain and iron ore, along worldwide shipping routes for some of the world’s largest users of marine drybulk transportation services. The Company’s common stock is listed on the NYSE, where it trades under the symbol “SB”. The Company’s current fleet consists of 16 drybulk vessels, all built post-2003, and the Company has contracted to acquire 11 additional drybulk newbuild vessels to be delivered at various times through 2014.
Source: safebulkers, June 02, 2011