NewLead Doubles Its Fleet

Doubles Bitumen Tanker Fleet

Greek shipping and logistics company NewLead Holdings has bought and leased five bitumen tankers, expanding its fleet to ten vessels in less than a year.

NewLead bought three bitumen tankers, the 5887 dwt Captain Nikolas I, the 3,416 dwt Nepheli and the 2,888 dwt Sofia, for a purchase price of approximately USD 21 million, to be paid through a combination of equity and debt financing.

The other two bitumen tankers, the 3,370 dwt Ioli and the 3,337 dwt Katerina L, were added to NewLead’s fleet following two separate bareboat/leasing agreements. NewLead has the option to buy the two tankers at any time during the duration of the bareboat/leasing agreements, but has the obligation to buy both vessels at the end of the charters for a minimum of USD 6.05 million together with the payment of any remaining unpaid trade debt on both vessels.

NewLead will pay around USD 4.23 million for the delivery of the last two tankers, financed through the issuance of shares of common stock of the company.

Four of the five vessels, the Captain Nikolas I, the Nepheli, the Ioli and the Katerina L, were built in 2009 and the Sofia was built in 2008. NewLead has been managing the Captain Nikolas I and the Sofia for over a year. The remaining three vessels were delivered to NewLead’s fleet at various times during the fourth quarter of 2014.

The gross earnings from the employment of all five vessels are expected to be USD 12.65 million per year. All five vessels are expected to generate an aggregate of approximately USD 5.61 million of EBITDA per year assuming an aggregate of USD 7.04 million of yearly operating expenses.

Four of the five bitumen tanker vessels are trading on the spot market and the Nepheli is on a period time charter until August 2015.

Michael Zolotas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NewLead, said: ”Today, NewLead’s average fleet age is 7.39 years compared to 17.84 years at the beginning of 2014. NewLead invested in young, high quality sophisticated bitumen tanker vessels to capture opportunities in emerging economies and niche markets with relatively low competition. NewLead’s long term relationships with oil majors and fuel oil companies will allow responsiveness to market opportunities as well as support its commitment to continue to grow its fleet.”

Image: Wil Weijsters/Shipspotting

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