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March 14, 2001
Frontline seeks NYSE listing,
General Maritime plans IPO
Investors in general may be disenchanted with Wall Street, but not so tanker owners. Frontline Ltd. intends to apply for listing of its ordinary shares on the New York Stock Exchange. And New York-based General Maritime is pressing ahead with plans for an IPO
Bermuda-based Frontline Ltd. has a fleet of 29 Suezmax tankers (of which 8 are Combination Carriers), 32 VLCCs and 10 dry bulk carriers. Through various corporate transactions undertaken over the last five years, Frontline has emerged as a market leader in the Suezmax and VLCC segments.
Chairman and CEO John Fredriksen called moving to the NYSE "an important milestone."
"We are very excited about the possibility of an NYSE listing and look forward to our first day of trading there," he said. "We feel that an NYSE listing will enhance Frontlines presence in the U.S. capital markets and we expect this to improve the liquidity of our shares in the US market. We expect to begin the formal application process shortly.
Frontlines ordinary shares are currently listed in the form of American Depository Receipts on the Nasdaq National Market under the ticker symbol FRONY. Concurrently with an NYSE listing, Frontlines ADRs would no longer be traded on the Nasdaq National Market. In accordance with the agreement governing Frontlines ADRs, Frontline is separately providing a formal 90-day written notice terminating its ADR program. As a result of this 90-day notice requirement, Frontline expects that its new listing on the NYSE will not take place until approximately the middle of June.
Frontlines ordinary shares are also listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange under the symbol FRO and the London Stock Exchange under the symbol FRO. Those listings are not affected by this announcement.
Newstraders.com reports that New York headquartered General Maritime Ship Holdings Ltd.has filed updated IPO paperwork with the SEC stating that it plans to sell 7 million common shares somewhere between $15 and $19 a share.
The former General Maritime Corp was founded in 1997 by chairman and CEO Peter Georgiopoulos with six vessels. Today it has a fleet of 20 vessels, mostly deployed in the Atlantic Basin tanker trades. Estimated net proceeds from the IPO offering are $108.2 million, or $124.8 million if the underwriters' over-allotment option is exercised in full.
General Maritime intends to use the funds to reduce borrowings , finance acquisitions of additional vessels or complementary businesses and for general corporate purposes, including working capital.
The IPO's underwriting team consists of ING Barings, Lehman Brothers and Jefferies Co.
General Maritime intends to apply to have its common stock approved for quotation on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "GMR."
GCMA files suit against ENSCO
The Gulf Coast Mariners Association has filed suit in federal court against ENSCO Marine Company and ENSCO Offshore Company. Its complaint asserts that ENSCO violated federal law by consistently failing to report accidents involving its offshore employees to the U.S. Coast Guard.
The lawsuit was originally filed August 30,2000, but has remained under seal until recently in compliance with federal law.
The suit was brought under the False Claims Act, and was filed in U.S. District Court in Lafayette, Louisiana. GCMA contends that federal law requires ENSCO to report all employee accidents requiring a doctor's care. In particular, ENSCO must file an accident report (known as a CG-2692) with the Coast Guard within five days of any such accident. GCMA alleges that for many years, ENSCO systematically failed to report such employee accidents to the Coast Guard except in cases involving fatalities.
GCMA's investigation of ENSCO's compliance with the law followed requests under the Freedom of Information Act, seeking copies of ENSCO's Form CG-2692 reports for employee accidents that were the subject of other lawsuits brought against the company. Out of 44 accidents resulting in lawsuits in various federal and state courts, the US Coast Guard only had one CG-2692 on file for ENSCO, says GCMA
GCMA's complaint also alleges that ENSCO failed to produce copies of the employee accident reports during the discovery process in prior lawsuits.
The GCMA's lawsuit is in the early stages of litigation and no trial date has yet been scheduled.
The GCMA's lawsuit seeks the proper filing of all accident reports by ENSCO, modification of ENSCO's reporting requirements, and imposition of civil penalties. Federal law provides that ENSCO can be fined up to $25,000 for each failure to report an accident. The False Claims Act also provides for treble damages and additional penalties of $5,000 to $10,000.
International expands tin-free antifoulings production
Akzo Nobel, parent of International marine coatings, is to invest EUR 4 million (about $3.7 million) to expand tin-free resin production at its Felling facility in the U.K. The Felling site produces coatings, under the International brand name, for European, African and Middle Eastern markets.
This investment will provide additional production capacity for the manufacture of patented copper acrylate polymers used in Intersmooth Ecoloflex SPC products - claimed to be the market leading tributyltin (TBT) free, self-polishing copolymer (SPC) antifouling coatings. Akzo Nobel asserts that these antifoulings provide equivalent performance levels to TBT containing products, but have a reduced impact on the environment.
It is expected that an international agreement being negotiated by IMO will result in a prohibition on the application of TBT antifoulings from 2003, and ban their presence on ships' hulls by 2008.
"Proprietary resins are a key success factor in any coatings technology, said Rudy van der Meer, member of the Akzo Nobel Board of Management responsible for coatings. "Our investment in this area underlines our dedication to stay ahead of our competitors with state-of-the-art technology.
"We are number one in marine coatings world wide said Leif Darner, general manager of the marine and protective coatings business unit. "The investment in copper acrylate resin production for Intersmooth Ecoloflex SPC at Felling is a key part of our strategy to further strengthen our leading position in this global market. Intersmooth Ecoloflex SPC is an integral part of our range of non-TBT antifouling coatings providing performance and value for our customers."
Start up of the new production facility is planned for early 2002.