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Wilson postpones newbuildings

Wilson postpones newbuildings
NORWEGIAN shortsea dry bulk specialist Wilson has announced that part of its newbuilding programme will be delayed.

Wilson postpones delivery of eight newbuildings.

NORWEGIAN shortsea dry bulk specialist Wilson has announced that part of its newbuilding programme will be delayed.

The Oslo-listed owner and operator said it had two orders of eight vessels each. The first of the 8,000 dwt newbuildings were expected in December last year. They will now be delivered in the second quarter of this year from China"s Yichang Shipyard, with additional months before some of the other vessels enter into the company"s European operations.

Similarly, Wilson has eight 4,500 dwt vessels on order from Shandong Baibuting Shipbuilding due for delivery between 2010 and 2012.

Wilson operates a fleet of 109 dry-bulk vessels between 1,500 dwt and 10,000 dwt in the North European sector.

It recently sold one of its vessels that has been laid up, the 1975 built 5,800 dwt Wilson Mo. It was sold to a Marshall Islands registered company for $460,000, which the company said was NKr2m ($335,000) below book value. Wilson said the vessel would have required a costly dry docking prior to entering service again.

Wilson reported an operating loss for 2009 of NKr133.2m, compared to a previous year profit of NKr233.6m.

During the final quarter of the year the company had contract cover of 51% compared to a third quarter of 46%. This it said is a sign of some improvements in the market, but said that its normal average is about 70%. The company also reported that there has been a strengthening in the shortsea spot market which is been beneficial.

Caiano AS, the majority shareholder in Wilson, has pledged NKr75m in a loan to the company. The agreement is expected to be finalised in March. Additionally Wilson has asked other lenders to agree to an adjustment to the covenants of a NKr45m loan until 2011.

Wilson believes the increased liquidity these two financial agreements will provide gives it the ability to fulfil its newbuilding obligations as well as the proposed purchase of outstanding shares in Icelandic shortsea shipper, Nesskip.


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