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Frontline gets NYSE listing
Frontline Ltd. has been approved to list its ordinary shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "FRO". Trading is expected to begin on August 6, 2001. Frontline is terminating its ADR program and expects to delist its ADRs, which trade on a 1:1 radio with its ordinary shares, from the Nasdaq National Market concurrently with the commencement of trading of its ordinary shares on the NYSE.
Chairman John Fredriksen termed the NYSE listing "a significant step towards enhancing the liquidity of the trading market for our shareholdersz". We look forward to joining other mature, successful companies on the New York Stock Exchange."
Separately, Frontline announced that it has filed a shelf registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It covers potential offerings by Frontline of debt, equity and convertible securities up to a total dollar amount of $500 million. It also also covers potential disposals of Frontline ordinary shares through sales, or conversions into non-cash consideration by two companies indirectly controlled by Fredriksen.
Frontline says the shelf registration statement will give it "increased flexibility to utilize different financing alternatives to fund continued growth and to serve as a basis for future corporate developments, including further consolidation of the tanker market."
Carnival unit sells two ships
Carnival Corporation's Seabourn Cruise Line has sold its two 116-passenger cruise ships Seabourn Goddess I & II to a Norwegian investment group led by original owner Atle Brynestad. The contract for purchase has been completed, calling for the new owners to take delivery of the ships on August 31st, 2001.
Originally launched in 1984 and 1985 as Sea Goddess I & II, the 4,260-ton identical twins were later acquired by Cunard Line and came to Seabourn following the purchase of Cunard by Carnival Corporation. Seabourn says their departure will return Seabourn's operating base to a uniform fleet of three identical yacht-like ships, consisting of the 10,000 ton Seabourn Pride, Spirit and Legend, which entered service in 1988, 1989 and 1996 respectively.
"The sale of Seabourn Goddess I & II completes a distillation of the Seabourn fleet back to the original Seabourn 'Sisters,' which are the yachts that put Seabourn at the top of the market," said Richard Meadows, Seabourn's Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. The three Seabourn sisters recently received extensive refurbishments at a cost of $25 million, including addition of innovative French Balconies to 36 suites on each ship.
In addition to the balconies, all three ships were completely redecorated and the spa facilities, computer centers and other public areas were substantially upgraded.
Guests booked on cruises aboard Seabourn Goddess I or II departing on or after September 1st are being offered incentives to sail aboard one of Seabourn's other ships. Guests who prefer to simply cancel their current cruises will have their fares refunded. In addition, canceling guests will receive credits of $500 per person toward fares on future Seabourn cruises.
Brynestad reportedly plans to keep the Goddesses on their presently planned itineraries until next summer, then have them refurbished.
New chairman for WQIS
Thomas Guarnera, vice president of Mutual Marine Office (MMO), has agreed to serve as chairman of WQIS, the Water Quality Insurance Syndicate. WQIS is the largest underwriter of pollution liability insurance in the U.S for marine vessels.
The previous chairman, Ray Marine, president of International Marine Underwriters (IMU/CU), now known as One Beacon, will be retiring after over 40 years in the insurance industry. Mike Jacobs, vice president, INAMAR - ACE USA, has agreed to serve as vice chairman of WQIS. WQIS has made aggressive moves recently to celebrate its 30th anniversary year: doubling available limits on oil spill coverage, announcing new broader in scope coverage for state liabilities, and creating interactive broker tools at www.wqis.com.
ENSCO reports increased earnings
ENSCO International Incorporated reported net income for the three months ended June 30, 2001 of $61.2 million, or $.44 per diluted share, on revenues of $215.5 million, compared to net income of $14.3 million, or $.10 per diluted share, on revenues of $116.6 million for the three months ended June 30, 2000.
Net income for the first six months of 2001 was $108.1 million, or $.77 per diluted share, on revenues of $410.8 million, compared to net income of $17.4 million, or $.13 per diluted share, on revenues of $212.8 million for the prior year six month period.
The average day rate for the company's jackup rigs was approximately $52,600 in the second quarter of 2001 compared to $32,100 in the second quarter of 2000. Utilization for ENSCO's jackup fleet was 91% in the second quarter of 2001 compared to 84% in the year earlier period.
The average day rate for the company's oilfield support vessels was $8,300 in the most recent quarter compared to $4,400 in the second quarter of 2000. Average utilization for the company's marine fleet was 84% in the second quarter of 2001, as compared to 62% in the year earlier period.
Chairman and CEO Carl commented that the improvement inresults was principally driven by stronger international markets. "Approximately 71% of the operating margin improvement from the first quarter of this year to the second quarter was attributable to international operations. We expect continued strength in international activity for the balance of this year. In North America, ENSCO utilization levels remain strong. However, some customers have recently slowed their rate of spending from levels prevailing earlier this year, resulting in some softening in the Gulf of Mexico jackup market. This may negatively impact day rates in the Gulf during the second half of 2001, and consequently may moderate the rate of improvement in our overall results for the next couple of quarters.''