Oslo: Whoever said shipping is dead failed to look at announcements coming out of Norway’s capital this week. The Oslo Bourse has been busy, the BW Group moved to list its LPG division, the floating assets of Hoegh LNG were also put up for an IPO, while Western Bulk jumped ahead of the queue with plans to launch onto the exchange in the coming two or three months. Having had both BW and Hoegh LNG on this site in recent months it falls to Western Bulk and its ceo Jens Ismar to fill the regular Friday shipowner profile on Maritime CEO today.
On Monday Western Bulk made clear its intentions to list in Oslo before the end of 2013. As one of the world’s larger bulk entities, and the third largest when it comes to supramaxes, its decision to list might surprise some who continue to fear the overcapacity hitting the sector.
However, Jens Ismar, the firm’s ceo is more optimistic.
“The market is levelling out, touching the bottom, and we see a gradual improvement,” he tells Maritime CEO, adding: “The demand side is holding up reasonably well.”
Ismar maintains Western Bulk is different to many other dry bulk owners operating a trading orientated model with a strong focus on risk management.
The company’s commercially controlled fleet has grown from 55 vessels in 2008 to 135 modern vessels in the first half 2013.
More charters are expected soon, says Ismar, however the owner is not likely to use any cash from an IPO for buying up distressed assets.
“We are very sceptial about resales and buying more assets,” Ismar says. “We want to be at the forefront of technical development, we want the most modern ships.”
In terms of taking on new ships, Ismar says it is a “good time”.
“Prices are low from a historic perspective. We will not see the boom from 2006 and 2007, but there is room for sensible growth,” he reckons. [06/09/13]
NEED TO KNOW: Western Bulk
Western Bulk AS was established in 1982 and is headquartered in Oslo. The company employs approximately 100 people and has commercial offices in Oslo, Singapore, Seattle, Santiago and Monaco. The Kistefos Group currently owns 96.5% of the shares in Western Bulk and is basically owned by Christen Sveaas. Western Bulk consists of two divisions; Western Bulk Chartering and Western Bulk Shipholding. Looking to relist in Oslo.