Troim's 2020 Bulkers plots course to Oslo OTC market

Dry Cargo Logistics

Tor Olav Troim is reportedly planning to list a new bulker venture on the Oslo Over the Counter market (Oslo OTC).

The revelation comes after TradeWinds reported last week that Troim, John Fredriksen’s former right-hand man, and now rival, has been linked to a letter of intent for at least two newcastlemax bulkers at China’s New Times Shipbuilding.

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The order was placed through a new company called 2020 Bulkers, a vehicle backed by international and Norwegian institutional investors, although initially the company’s link to Troim was not clear.

Among investors in 2020 Bulkers are Titan Opportunities Fund, which was established by former Fredriksen group employees Fredrik Halvorsen and Espen Westeren, according to Norwegian daily Finansavisen.

The remaining investor list has not been firmed up. But Magnus Halvorsen, who is responsible for Magni Partners’ dry bulk efforts, says there is strong interest for the project.

It is the second time in under a year that Troim has used the OTC route to raise capital. Borr Drilling began life on the same platform before moving to more senior exchanges in the Norwegian capital.

Ship finance sources are not surprised to see Troim making use of the capital markets as he looks to establish new ventures given his reputation in the investor community.

“The man certainly can walk on water capital markets-wise, so anything he tries would succeed I think,” one finance source told TradeWinds.

Halvorsen claims the price level achieved for the newbuildings likely is the lowest ever. TradeWinds has reported that the 208,000-dwt ships are costing $44.5m each and the LOI covers two firm ships plus options. Delivery of the first ships will be in 2020.

Halvorsen says the project is opportunistic and that the plan is not to become a big shipowning company.

Fredriksen himself has signed a letter of intent with the same shipyard for a series of newcastlemaxes.

Halvorsen claims Magni had already signed a deal before they were aware that Fredriksen was working on a similar project at the same shipyard.

Another Norwegian owner, Roy Mosvold’s Mosvold Shipping has an agreement to order up to four 180,000-dwt bulkers at another Chinese yard, Yangzijiang. Pareto Securities is helping to raise capital for the project.

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Trond Lillestolen and Andy Pierce