Höegh Autoliners, through its subsidiary Höegh Autoliners Shipping AS, has agreed with the owner of the leased vessel Höegh Berlin (IMO 9295842) to terminate the bareboat charter and purchase the vessel, for a purchase price of USD 34.25 million. The vessel was taken over on 1 March 2023. The average market value of the vessel estimated by three different brokers was USD 59 million per end of Q4 2022.
Höegh Berlin was built by Höegh at Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (“DSME”) in 2005 and has a capacity of 7,850 CEU and is one of a series of vessels Höegh built at DSME between 2004 and 2010. The vessel was sold in in 2009 and chartered back to Höegh Autoliners under a bareboat charter agreement.
This is the fifth bareboat chartered vessel the Company has purchased back in less than a year, and the other 4 are Höegh Beijing, Höegh Tracer, Höegh Trapper and Höegh St. Petersburg. The purchase of Höegh Berlin will reduce the long-term cash capacity cost for the vessel as well as realise additional value gains from taking direct ownership to leased vessels. The Company intends to register her under Norwegian flag (NIS) after the transfer of ownership.
This will bring Höegh Autoliners’ number of vessels registered in NIS to 28 out of 31 in its technically managed fleet, solidifying its position as one of the largest owners in terms of deadweight ton (DWT) in the NIS register.
On 1 March 2023, according to earlier announcement of the exercise option, we have also taken ownership of Höegh Tracer.
Per Øivind Rosmo, CFO of Höegh Autoliners, comments: “With the delivery of Höegh Berlin and Höegh Tracer, Höegh Autoliners is again demonstrating our commitment to serve and build long term relationship with our customers based on a fleet we own and control. After the purchase of the leased vessels, we will have a fleet of 31 owned vessels, 3 BB chartered vessels with purchase option and 3 vessels chartered in on medium term Time-Charters. This gives us limited exposure to the currently tight and expensive Time-Charter market. Höegh Berlin has done a very good job for us and our customers since we built her in 2005 and is very well suited for our established and balanced trade systems from Asia to Europe and the US with return to Asia via South Africa and Australia or the Middle East.
Together with the Horizon class vessels (8,500 CEU capacity) and the Aurora class vessels under construction (9,100 CEU capacity), the series of 7,850 CEU vessels built at Daewoo represents one of the largest and most environmentally friendly PCTC fleet. These large and fuel-efficient vessels are an important part of our ambition to continue to reduce our carbon intensity and the journey towards being carbon neutral by 2040″.