Frontline Posts Highest First Quarter Results Since 2008

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Frontline plc reported unaudited results for the three months ended March 31, 2023:

Highlights

  • Highest first quarter profit since 2008 of $199.6 million, or $0.90 per basic and diluted share for the first quarter of 2023.
  • Adjusted profit of $193.3 million, or $0.87 per basic and diluted share for the first quarter of 2023.
  • Declared a cash dividend of $0.70 per share for the first quarter of 2023.
  • Reported revenues of $497.3 million for the first quarter of 2023.
  • Reported spot TCEs for VLCCs, Suezmax tankers and LR2/Aframax tankers in the first quarter of 2023 were $52,500, $64,000 and $56,300 per day, respectively.
  • For the second quarter of 2023, we estimate spot TCE on a load-to-discharge basis of $75,000 contracted for 78% of vessel days for VLCCs, $65,000 contracted for 71% of vessel days for Suezmax tankers and $65,700 contracted for 63% of vessel days for LR2/Aframax tankers.
  • Sold the 2010-built Suezmax tanker, Front Njord in May 2023, for aggregate gross proceeds of $44.5 million. After repayment of existing debt on the vessel, the transaction is expected to generate net cash proceeds of approximately $28.2 million.
  • Entered into two fixed rate time charter-out contracts in April 2023 and May 2023 for two LR2/Aframax tankers to third parties on two-year time charters, both at a daily base rate of $46,500.
  • Entered into a senior secured term loan facility in May 2023 for a total amount of up to $129.4 million at attractive terms to refinance an existing term loan facility maturing in August 2023.

Lars H. Barstad, Chief Executive Officer of Frontline Management AS, commented:

“Frontline continued to generate elevated cash returns for its shareholders in the first quarter of 2023. The most prominent market development during the quarter was that China abandoned its zero-tolerance policy in respect of Covid-19 and started reopening. Freight demand and rates remained firm throughout the quarter, defying historical seasonal patterns. Our constructive long-term outlook is not affected by short-term volatility, as oil demand is expected to rise significantly in the second half of the year. We will continue to position Frontline towards capturing value, both on assets and period business as we proceed into what we believe may be a very exciting cycle.”

Inger M. Klemp, Chief Financial Officer of Frontline Management AS, added:

“In May 2023, we entered into a senior secured term loan facility for a total amount of up to $129.4 million to refinance an existing term loan facility with total balloon payment of $80.1 million maturing in August 2023. We intend to use the expected net cash proceeds from the refinancing and from the sale of Front Njord to partially repay our $275.0 million senior unsecured revolving credit facility.”

We expect the spot TCEs for the full second quarter of 2023 to be lower than the TCEs currently contracted, due to the impact of ballast days at the end of the first quarter. The number of ballast days at the end of the first quarter was 359 for VLCCs, 429 for Suezmax tankers and 216 for LR2/Aframax tankers.

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