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‘We’re not in the business of constantly acquiring shiny new toys’: NAT’s Hansson

Herbjørn Hansson, the chairman and ceo of Nordic American Tankers, is well known for his more colourful letters to shareholders. Once again he did not disappoint yesterday with his latest missive.

Noting that NAT has a cash break-even level of less than $12,000 a day per ship, Hansson dismissed concerns over his fleet’s average age. “We are not in the business of constantly acquiring shiny new toys, because that really is not in the interest of shareholders,” he wrote.

Hansson compared shipowning to being a careful car owner.

“It is the difference between owning and maintaining a durable and dependable car,” he wrote, “and buying a new car every year just for the sake of showing off the latest model to your neighbors. Making money and generating returns, however, is what we always focus on. The question of age is brought up by those people who have never owned or operated a tanker.”

NAT’s current fleet counts 26 vessels, including two newbuildings to be delivered in August this year and January 2017.

“We are constantly assessing vessels offered to us, and you can rest assured we only move to grow when we feel the time is right,” Hansson wrote, adding: “Our management does not have a fee incentive to grow indiscriminately. Some companies engage in such practices but at NAT we have always felt such conduct causes a misalignment between management and shareholders.”

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Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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