February 12, 2007
Omega breaks into Panamax ice market
Piraeus-based Omega Navigation Enterprises, Inc. (NasdaqGM:ONAV) (SGX: ONAV50), is paying $64.5 million each to acquire two 73,000 dwt Ice Class 1A Panamax product tankers currently under construction at STX Shipbuilding Co., South Korea.
George Kassiotis, President and CEO of Omega, commented: "The acquisition of these vessels is a continuation of the company's commitment to the product tanker sector. The acquisition of this new type of vessel offers the company access to the niche Panamax ice class market, which we believe has significant upside potential, while still offering maximum commercial flexibility. It solidifies our position in this market and our status as the only pure play product tanker company listed on a U.S. exchange. We also continue to implement our strategy of investing in modern, high quality assets, while at the same time increasing shareholder value."
Omega says its strategy will be to employ these vessels via fixed period charters, as is the case with the existing fleet, "at a time when management believes the vessels' characteristics are fairly reflected in the time charter rates offered by the charterers."
The vessels will be named the "Omega Emmanuel" and the "Omega Theodore" on delivery to the company. The "Omega Emmanuel" is expected to be delivered on March 23, 2007 and the "Omega Theodore" is expected to be delivered on April 26, 2007.
Following the delivery of these vessels, Omega Navigation will have a fleet of eight product carriers with a combined cargo carrying capacity of approximately 512,358 dwt. The company also has options to acquire two additional double hull Ice Class 1A product carrier newbuilds that are expected to be available for delivery between August and September 2007.
The acquisitions of "Omega Emmanuel" and the "Omega Theodore" will be funded with internally generated cash and commercial bank debt totaling $60 million per vessel. The balance will be funded by a $4.5 million, zero coupon warrant issued to the seller for each vessel, which will convert into Omega Class A common shares, no earlier than March 31, 2009.