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6 dry bulk vessels sold for $175m

6 dry bulk vessels sold for $175m
Danish shipping group Norden has sold six dry bulk vessels for a total of $175m, as it pares back its fleet to free up cash.

Danish shipping group Norden has sold six dry bulk vessels for a total of $175m, as it pares back its fleet to free up cash.

Danish shipping group Norden has sold six dry bulk vessels for a total of $175m, as it pares back its fleet to free up cash.

The sales would generate a profit of $13m, the company said. The vessels include two panamax and four handymax ships that were delivered between two and three years ago from Japanese yards.

Copenhagen-based Norden, one of Europe"s largest shipping companies, declined to provide further details, or disclose the new owners but said the sales were to a number of companies.

?We are looking at the large amount of new tonnage coming into the Norden fleet in 2009 and instead of growing an endless fleet we are trying to balance it out,? said Norden senior analyst Peter Sand. ?We have also done it to get some cash too.... we do not need the cash, but nice to exchange some for cash.?

He would not say how many newbuildings were due to be delivered, but the company lists 78 vessels on order on its website. Analysts estimated an additional 20 ships would be added to Norden"s fleet this year in newbuildings and chartered-in tonnage.

Last November, Norden revealed that it had redelivered 77 dry cargo vessels on short term charters in the last two months, which would cut the size of its active fleet by more than half. The fleet has now dropped to 50 dry cargo vessels, from 100 over three months ago when rates for bulk carriers collapsed.

The vessels that were sold were part of Norden"s chartered fleet, and although the dry bulk operator did not orginially own them, it had purchase options for the vessels.

?We declared the purchase options and took them over with the intention of selling them,? said Mr Sand.

The average vessel price was just over $29m per vessel, Mr Sand said. A ?little more? should be added to the panamax vessel values and a ?little less? taken off the handymax prices.

Norden expected to take delivery of the vessels in the first and second quarters once they have completed their current charters, details of which the company declined to disclose. Norden said it would then deliver them onto their new owners immediately after.

Total proceeds of $247m are expected from these and other sales so far in 2009, with a profit of $25m.

The May 2007 resale of a 50% owned supramax bulk carrier, Port Kelang, due for delivery in early 2009, had been brought forward to late 2008.

Norden was active in selling off older tonnage in November and December, which Mr Sand said was also done in a bid to balance out the fleet.

Carsten Mortensen, Norden"s chief executive officer reportedly told local newspapers on Monday that ?very many"" dry bulk shippers will go bankrupt this year.

Norden may weather the crisis and come out stronger within three years Mortensen said, according to the newspaper.


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