CoolCo wraps up purchase of eight Golar LNG carriers, inks new charter deal

LNG carrier operator CoolCo, formed by Tor Olav Troim-led Golar LNG and Idan Ofer’s Eastern Pacific Shipping, has acquired all eight vessels from Golar as part of a deal revealed in December.

CoolCo said in a statement on Wednesday that it had completed the purchase of two single purposes companies owning the seventh and the eighth vessel from Golar.

The LNG carriers in question are the 2015-built, 160,000-cbm Golar Ice and the 2015-built, 162,000-cbm Golar Kelvin.

In acquiring the two single purposes companies, CoolCo said it has accepted that their existing lease financing arrangement would continue, supplemented by a new parent guarantee from CoolCo.

CoolCo paid for the shares in the subsidiaries in cash and by the issue of 3.12 million new common shares of $1.00 par value in CoolCo to Golar.

Following the issue, CoolCo has a paid in share capital of about $40 million represented by 40 million common shares each of which represents one vote in the company’s general meeting.

Golar now owns 12.5 million shares in the company, representing 31.2 percent of all shares in issue.

EPS is the largest shareholder of CoolCo with a 38 percent stake while public investors hold the rest.

Besides this deal, CoolCo and Golar also completed the transfer of all of the shares in Cool Pool Limited from Golar to CoolCo.

The Cool Pool is the company responsible for the marketing of the LNG tankers acquired by CoolCo.

Vessel charterered for $120,000 per day

CoolCo said the company and Golar would finalize the overall transaction announced in January this year by the second quarter of this year.

This includes transferring the organization in Golar responsible for the technical and commercial operation of the eight LNG tankers to CoolCo.

Golar’s chief executive and interim CEO of CoolCo, Karl Fredrik Staubo, said completion of these final vessel transfers coincides with an “improving chartering environment”.

“The market strengthening is driven by increased focus on energy security, low gas storage levels, new environmental regulations effective from 2023 disadvantaging less fuel-efficient tonnage, and rising yard prices for new orders with lead times into 2026,” he said.

CoolCo recently chartered a vessel for 12 months at a rate of around $120,000 per day.

This is 20 percent higher than the last 12-month charter agreed for a CoolCo vessel in October 2021 and twice the actual rate the vessel earned on its prior 12-month charter, according to Staubo.

“We are also seeing increased interest for multi-year charters driving stronger earnings and dividend potential,” Staubo added.

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