Year of two contrasting halves: robust fundamentals drove strong market until June but increased vessel supply aggravated seasonal trading patterns until Q4
- Euronav balance sheet bolstered by sale & leaseback and new financing facility
- Award for FSO for five-year contract starting Q3 2017
- Further growth via addition of 2 VLCC resales delivered to fleet in January 2017
- Long term time charter (7 years) signed for two new 1C ice-class Suezmax vessels to be built
- 2017 outlook will see challenges from the peak of new vessel supply and production cuts but medium term prospects remain encouraging
ANTWERP, Belgium - Euronav NV (NYSE: EURN & Euronext: EURN) (“Euronav” or the “Company”) today reported its audited financial results for the full year to 31 December 2016.
Paddy Rodgers, CEO of Euronav said: “2016 represented a very active year for Euronav during which we delivered a number of accomplishments. Firstly, the award for our FSO project for a further five years starting the third quarter of 2017, subject to successful negotiations and the signing of the final service contracts. Secondly, we took the opportunity to further focus our activities by consolidating our last tanker joint venture arrangements related to one VLCC and four Suezmaxes (of which we now fully own one VLCC and two Suezmax vessels). Thirdly, we continued to grow the Company by acquiring two VLCC resales, financed internally through our balance sheet which in turn was strengthened via a sale & leaseback transaction and the signing of a new finance facility.
Lastly, we secured a long-term charter with Valero Energy Inc. for two Suezmax vessels starting in 2018 which will be served by two Ice-class new buildings ordered during the year.
Freight rates were impacted negatively from June onwards by increased vessel supply, weak tanker owners sentiment and specific factors such as oil supply disruptions affecting the Suezmax segment.
Medium- and longer-term prospects for the tanker market remain constructive, underpinned by a solid recurring demand for crude, structural change in financing likely to constrain future vessel supply growth and a likely acceleration in the retirement of older ships from 2017 onward encouraged by environmental legislation on ballast water treatment and sulfur emissions.
However, 2017 will, in our view, present a number of challenges: OPEC production cuts, concentrated delivery schedule of the order book and anemic owner confidence, which when combined, are all likely to produce a difficult rate environment for the next few quarters.
Euronav retains access to substantial liquidity and maintains a robust balance sheet in order to remain strategically opportunistic and to navigate potential short-term headwinds during periods of increased vessel supply whilst at the same time remaining exposed to any potential upside from an improved rate environment.”