Norwegian investment firm Alfred Berg Asset Management may sell its controlling stake in Farstad Shipping’s bonds to other big-name offshore players such as Fredriksen-led Deep Sea Supply, Aker and Kristian Siem, who controls Siem Offshore, Aftenposten reports.
Alfred Berg Asset Management has been buying up the Norwegian company’s bonds since last autumn after spotting the country’s offshore industry was undergoing restructuring, Tom Hestnes, Alfred Berg’s portfolio manager, told the Norwegian newspaper.
DnB Asset Management has also been buying the bonds and together the two investment firms have controlling stakes worth a combined NOK 400m in one of Farstad’s two bond issues, each of which is worth NOK 1.4bn.
“We are a financial investor and a lot will be about pure price, but we are equally keen to sell to a long-term industrial player,” Hestnes told Aftenposten.
Farstad’s CEO Karl-Johan Bakken did not comment explicitly on the prospective bond sale, but said the company is working to put a sound financial platform in place for the future.
The market “probably will not come back the same way as before”, he told the newspaper.
“It would therefore be wise for participants to be creative and open to organize your business in a different way in the future – thus ensuring a sustainable and competitive development,” he continued.
Farstad has been undergoing financial restructuring and on June 30 signed a standstill and deferral agreement with its secured lenders. The agreement will postpone all Farstad’s amortisation payments due to the lenders between July 1 to October 1 this year and will grant defeaseance to all financial covenants during the period.
Aker boss Kjell Inge Røkke took on a major shareholding in Solstad Offshore in June, and has since forced REM Offshore to merge with Solstad to create a 62-vessel OSV fleet.