John Fredriksen, a billionaire shipping magnate, is looking to buy oil tanker companies. He wants to prepare for a rebound in oil prices and expand his business empire. Fredriksen wants to spend more than $2 billion on acquisitions to overtake his competition as the largest shipping company in the world. Costas Paris writes:
“We used to be the biggest VLCC owner, but now we are No. 4,” as his tanker company,Frontline Ltd. , was overtaken by rivals, said Mr. Fredriksen in a rare interview earlier this month. “I’m looking to invest more than two billion [dollars] in acquisitions,” he said, noting he is primarily looking to acquire companies outright rather than buying tankers from rivals.
An oversupply of cheap oil and too many tankers chasing too little cargo has respectively hit drilling and shipping hard. Mr. Fredriksen reckons shipping companies will scrap three times as many tankers this year than they did last year, with fewer new vessels coming to market.
“Around 150 very large crude carriers, or about 20% of the existing fleet, will be scrapped over the next couple of years,” said the 73-year-old, known in the industry as “Big John.” “To have a say in the market you have to have size, so I’m looking to buy tankers all the time.”
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