EuropeFinance and InsuranceTankers

Top Ships’ newbuildings fully funded with series of new deals

Top Ships has secured several new deals to fund its recently delivered very large crude carrier (VLCC) and the remaining newbuilding programme.

In relation to the recent delivery of the VLCC Julius Caesar by South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries, the company drew down $54m from its secured credit facility in the form of a sale and leaseback and has bareboat chartered back the vessel for eight years. The loan has customary financial and other covenants, including with respect to a change in voting control of the company and the option for Top Ships to buy back the vessel.

The company has in place a facility with the same financier with substantially similar terms for the VLCC Legio X Equestris, which is expected to be delivered during the first quarter of 2022. In addition, Top Ships has entered into a non-binding term sheet with a major international financier for up to $48.4m for the financing, in the form of a sale and leaseback, of the newbuilding suezmax Eco Oceano CA. The credit facility will be repayable in 40 consecutive quarterly installments of $0.7m commencing from the date of delivery of the vessel, plus a balloon installment equal to $20.4m.

The Nasdaq-listed Greek tanker owner has also secured a loan for up to $20m with an affiliate of its CEO, Evangelos Pistiolis, in order to finance part of the shipbuilding cost of the two VLCCs. To date, $9m has been drawn down. Top Ships said it would repay the principal amount of this facility in cash via one or multiple installments at its discretion by December 31, 2022. Meanwhile, in January this year, Top Ships entered into a stock purchase agreement with Pistolis’ affiliate for the sale of up to around 7.56m newly-issued preferred shares in exchange for $48m of shipbuilding costs for its newbuildings and settlement of the company’s remaining payment obligations relating to the acquisition in September last year of an additional 65% ownership interest in the newbuilding contracts for its 2 VLCCs, in an amount of up to $27.6m.

Subject to the approval of Eco Oceano CA financing, in combination with the unsecured financing and the sale of preferred shares, the company’s remaining newbuilding program will be fully funded. The Julius Caesar has commenced its time charter employment with a major oil trader for three years, with two yearly extension options expected to potentially generate around $68.8m if all options are exercised. The company also confirmed the sale of two one-year-old MR product tankers, Eco Los Angeles and Eco City of Angels, Splash Extra reported earlier. The deal should complete during the first quarter of 2022, delivering $17.5m Top Ships intends to use towards its current newbuilding programme, including repayment of the unsecured financing.

Adis Ajdin

Adis is an experienced news reporter with a background in finance, media and education. He has written across the spectrum of offshore energy and ocean industries for many years and is a member of International Federation of Journalists. Previously he had written for Navingo media group titles including Offshore Energy, Subsea World News and Marine Energy.
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