Golden Ocean CEO Steps Down (21 NOV 2019)

Golden Ocean Group Limited’s (GOGL) CEO Birgitte Ringstad Vartdal is stepping down from her role as chief executive on November 30, 2019, the Norwegian dry shipping company said.

Vartdal, who held the position as CEO since 2016 and before that served as CFO since 2010, has submitted her notice of resignation to GOGL.

As informed, the company has appointed Ola Lorentzon, the chairman of the board of Golden Ocean, as interim CEO and will initiate the search for a new CEO immediately.

 “I have had 10 fantastic years with Golden Ocean and am pleased with the development of the company during this period. The company is now in a solid financial position, just delivered its best quarterly result since 2013 and is well prepared ahead of IMO 2020,” Vartdal commented.

The announcement comes on the back of the company’s financial results for the third quarter of this year which show that GOGL generated a net income of USD 36.7 million, returning from a net loss of USD 33.1 million suffered in the second quarter of this year.

Operating revenues amounted to USD 219.3 million in the third quarter of 2019, an increase of USD 103.5 million from USD 115.8 million posted in the second quarter of 2019.

In September and October 2019, the company took delivery of two chartered-in 103,000 dwt ice-class vessels built in 2019. MV Admiral Schmidt and the MV Vitus Bering are chartered in on index-linked time charters each with firm periods of three years, with four annual options to extend the lease.

In addition, during Q3 2019, the company teamed up with Frontline and Trafigura to establish a global supplier of marine fuels and made further investments in Singapore Marine, a dry bulk freight operator.

In November this year, GOGL completed refinancing of the USD 284 million loan facility financing 15 vessels at “attractive terms”.

Finally, the company agreed with SFL Corporation a charter amendment for seven Capesize vessels whereby SFL will fund the scrubber investments previously announced by the company in exchange for increased charter rates. The expected capital expenditure to be funded by SFL will be approximately USD 17.5 million, and will be repaid through increased charter rates from January 1, 2020, to June 30, 2025.

“We are pleased to announce that we have been able to refinance a loan facility for 15 vessels at attractive terms with reputable shipping banks. The loan has a five year tenor with a 20-years age adjusted profile and eliminates our refinancing needs until 2021. Combined with a total financing of approximately USD 45 million of our scrubber investment this gives the company a high degree of financial flexibility for the coming year,“ Per Heiberg, Chief Financial Officer of Golden Ocean Management, said.

Golden Ocean’s fleet currently comprises 79 vessels, with an aggregate capacity of about 10.9 million dwt.