Norwegian shipping trio reopens Nordic bond market

Three Norwegian shipping-related companies have hit screens as the Nordic issuers spring back into action.

In addition, toll road operator, Vegfinans Innlandet, was also active on Wednesday through a Nkr1.1bn (US$123m) dual-tranche transaction.

The three shipping-related companies are gas transporter Teekay LNG Partners, which has priced a NKr1bn senior unsecured five-year floating rate bond, and Wallenius Wilhelmsen and Altera, which have both announced mandates.

“It has been quiet over the summer but the Nordic vacation period is now coming to an end and the market is opening,” said Jan Rune Steinsland, CFO at Altera.

Norwegian shipping firm Altera Shuttle Tankers, previously known as Teekay Offshore Partners, is looking to tap its senior unsecured green bonds due October 2024s for up to US$75m, said Steinsland. The bonds are bid at 98, according to MarketAxess.

Leads DNB Markets, Nordea, Danske Bank and SEB held investor calls to market the deal on Thursday.

Money raised from Altera’s tap will, like the initial fundraising, part-finance four new energy-efficient shuttle tankers, specialist vessels that transport oil from offshore fields instead of pipelines, said Steinsland.

Altera (Baa3/BBB-/BBB-) may also consider a conditional buyback of its 7.125% senior unsecured bonds due August 2022 in conjunction with the new issue. Those bonds are quoted at 101 bid, according to MarketAxess data.

The company, an operator of oil tankers headquartered in Bermuda, initially raised US$125m through the 6.772% October 2024s last year.

That was US$25m less than the minimum the company was initially aiming for and much lower than the US$200m maximum target leads had initially telegraphed.

The original deal was dogged by questions over whether the green label was suitable for a bond that would help finance oil tankers.

And in January, the company’s offices in Norway were raided by the National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime (Okokrim) on suspicion that it illegally disposed of a shuttle tanker in South Asian scrap yards.

“Having reviewed relevant materials together with its advisors, the Partnership continues to believe it acted in accordance with the relevant rules and regulations and denies the alleged violations,” the company said in its second quarter earnings release, published on August 6.

“The Partnership is continuing to cooperate with authorities in respect of this matter. There are no updates on this case in the second quarter of 2020.”

Altera said that it did not experience any material business interruptions or financial impact as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic in the first quarter.

However, the company added that the operational environment continues to be challenging and its results may be adversely affected under a prolonged pandemic.

“The main Covid-19 related challenge that we, and the industry, are facing, is to get our seafarers safely on and off our vessels and back home,” said Steinsland.

In the Norwegian krone market, Altera’s previous parent company, Teekay LNG, landed its September 2025s at 515bp over three-month Nibor, compared to initial price thoughts of +525bp-550bp. The deal was upsized from Nkr750m, which was telegraphed by leads as a minimum size.

Global co-ordinators were DNB Markets and Nordea.

Meanwhile, shipping company Wallenius Wilhelmsen has hired Danske Bank, DNB Markets, Nordea, SEB and Swedbank as lead managers for a potential four-year Norwegian krone-denominated senior unsecured floating rate bond.

The company will kick off investor calls for the deal on August 24.

Wallenius has been sharply impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and measures taken to control its spread, said the company in its second quarter earnings release.

The company reported total income of US$606m for the quarter, down 40% compared to the same period last year.

Vegfinans Innlandet printed a Nkr600m three-year FRN at 33bp over three-month Nibor and a Nkr500m five-year FRN at plus 45bp. Both tranches priced at the mid-point of their marketing levels.
Source: IFR

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