PAO Sovcomflot (SCF Group) informed that it has signed a new $252 million 7-year credit facility with a consortium of six leading international banks, which includes: ABN AMRO Bank; BNP Paribas; Citibank; ING Bank; KfW IPEX-Bank, and Société Générale.
The funds will be used towards financing a series of six Aframax tankers, the first-ever such vessels purpose-designed to be powered by LNG, currently under construction and due for delivery from Q3 2018 to Q2 2019. These innovative vessels set new environmental standards for the global tanker industry through adopting cleaner-burning LNG as a primary fuel for Aframax tankers.
Each 114,000-deadweight tanker will have an ice class 1A hull, enabling safe year-round export operations from regions with challenging ice conditions, such as the Baltic. Two vessels will work exclusively for Shell under time-charters for up to ten years, while Shell will also provide LNG fuel for all the six tankers in the series across North West Europe and the Baltic.
The credit facility benefits from a favourable long-term tenor and competitive pricing, reflecting the robustness of the deal structure as well as the ability of SCF Group to raise capital internationally under all market conditions.
Nikolay Kolesnikov, Senior Executive Vice-President, Chief Financial Officer of SCF Group, said, "We are delighted to have concluded a new long-term financing agreement for SCF Group, and are grateful to our long-standing financial partners for their continued support of SCF's business and growth plans. We are also pleased to welcome establishing relations with new international lenders to the Group. This new loan agreement clearly demonstrates the confidence of international partners in SCF Group despite the current challenges faced by the global economy and the shipping market. This is the second successful debt financing accomplished by SCF Group in 2018, which now allows the company to address in full its financing requirements for the newbuilding programme of 2018-2019."