Höegh Autoliners buys back fifth RoRo on bareboat charter

Norwegian roll-on/roll-off (RoRo) operator Höegh Autoliners has exercised an option to buy back another of its bareboat charter vessels – its fifth such deal in less than a year.

Höegh Autoliners ASA this week announced an agreement to end bareboat charters for the High Berlin and acquire the ship for a purchase price of $34.25 million. The 7,850 CEU capacity vessel was taken over on March 1st.

High Berlin was built by Höegh at Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (“DSME”) in 2005 and is one of a series of vessels built by the Company at DSME between 2004 and 2010. The ship was sold in 2009 and chartered back to Höegh Autoliners under a bareboat charter agreement.

Höegh Autoliners said the ship’s average market value, estimated by three different brokers, was $59 million at the end of the fourth quarter of 2022.

The deal is the fifth bareboat charter vessel Höegh has bought back in less than a year High Beijing, Altitude Tracer, High stairs And Hoegh St. Petersburg. The company said the purchase of High Berlin will reduce the long-term cash capacity cost of the vessel and realize additional value gains by taking direct ownership of leased vessels.

Höegh said it intends to register High Berlin under Norwegian flag (NIS) following the transfer of ownership, bringing the number of Norwegian registered vessels to 28 out of 31 in its technically managed fleet, making it one of the largest owners in terms of deadweight tonnage (DWT) in the Norwegian Register.

Höegh Autoliners has also announced that it will take ownership of as of March 1, 2023 Altitude Traceraccording to the earlier announcement of the exercise option.

“With the delivery of High Berlin And Altitude Tracer, Höegh Autoliners once again demonstrates our commitment to serving our customers and building long-term relationships with them, based on a fleet that we own and control,” said Per Øivind Rosmo, CFO of Höegh Autoliners. “After purchasing the leased vessels we have a fleet of 31 owned vessels, 3 vessels chartered by BB with option to purchase and 3 vessels chartered on medium term time charters. This gives us limited exposure to the current tight and expensive time charter market.

High Berlin has done a very good job for us and our customers since it was built in 2005 and lends itself very well to our established and balanced trading systems from Asia to Europe and to the USA with repatriation to Asia via South Africa and Australia or the Middle East.

“Together with the Horizon-class ships (8,500 CEU capacity) and the Aurora-class ships under construction (9,100 CEU capacity), the series of 7,850 CEU ships to be built at Daewoo represents one of the largest and… most environmentally friendly PCTC fleets. These large and fuel-efficient ships are an important part of our commitment to further reduce our carbon intensity and embark on the path to net zero carbon by 2040,” said Rosmo.

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