Prime Tanker Management Buys FSL Trust Stake from HSH Nordbank

Godan GMBH (Godan), a subsidiary of German lender HSH Nordbank and the controlling unitholder of First Ship Lease Trust, has sold its shares in the FSL Holdings to Prime Shareholdings, an affiliate of Athens-based shipowner Prime Tanker Management.

Prime currently manages a fleet of 27 double-hull product tankers, two Suezmax oil tankers and seven LPG carriers with an aggregate tonnage of approximately 2.5 million dwt.

In line with the sale, Prime’s founder and CEO Stathis Topouzoglou has been appointed a non-executive director to the Board of Directors of the trustee-manager.

“The trustee-manager views this as a positive development for the trust and anticipates that with a long-term strategic investor controlling the sponsor, prospects for a refinancing and/or extension of the trust’s indebtedness should be improved,”  FSL Trust Management Pte said.

The trustee-manager has launched talks to extend the amortizing loan facility secured in December 2011 that fell due for full repayment in December 2017.

As informed earlier this week, the majority of the lenders under the syndicated loan facility have backed the extension. To this end, the trustee-manager made an application to the High Court of Singapore proposing the extension.

The update on loan extension was made as the trust reported a net loss of USD 33.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2017 and USD 73.9 million for the full year impacted mainly by the market volatility and continued fall of vessel values.

FSL Trust’s portfolio of 19 ships comprises three containerships, twelve product tankers, two chemical tankers and two crude oil tankers.

The deal is being reported on the back of HSH Nordbank’s sale to a consortium composed of Cerberus European Investments, JC Flowers & Co., GoldenTree Asset Management UK, Centaurus Capital LP and BAWAG, announced on Wednesday.

The purchase price for 94.9 percent of HSH shares amounts to EUR 1 billion (USD 1.22 billion), as informed.

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