Polarcus Limited is pleased to announce that the Company has signed shipbuilding contracts for two additional high-end 3D seismic vessels for delivery in the first half of 2012. The Company is simultaneously launching an equity issue of USD 65 million through a private placement to partly finance the new vessels' total estimated project capital expenditure of USD 168 million per vessel.
"This new order for two further high-end 3D seismic vessels underscores our commitment to be the new seismic major," commented Rolf Ronningen, CEO Polarcus. "We have been able to take maximum advantage of the availability of yard slots to execute shipbuilding contracts on highly favorable payment terms and to secure beneficial delivery times of the newbuilds. We have furthermore taken the strategic decision to build these vessels in Norway to avail ourselves of significant and advantageous financing from the Norwegian Institution for Export Financing, Eksportfinans ASA".
"Both newbuilds are of the same proven design as our existing POLARCUS ASIMA and POLARCUS ALIMA vessels. They also incorporate some additional advanced capabilities, including the ability to tow up to 14 streamers, which will position these vessels firmly in the most active 12 to 14 streamer market segment, thereby maximizing vessel operating profitability" continued Ronningen. "Their timely delivery in the first half of 2012 will place Polarcus in pole position to ride a sector recovery."
The announcement increases the size of the Company's high-end 3D seismic fleet to seven vessels, with a corresponding projected increase in market share to approximately 13% after delivery in 2012.
New Shipbuilding Contracts
The shipbuilding contracts for two additional high-end 3D seismic vessels for delivery in March and June 2012 respectively have been signed with Ulstein Verft AS. The two newbuild seismic vessels will be constructed to the ULSTEIN SX134 design but with a higher ice class (ICE 1A super), increased propulsion and other innovative efficiency enhancing features. The vessels will be capable of towing up to 14 streamers with 100m lateral separation between streamers.
The total estimated project capital expenditure based on exchange rates is USD 168 million per vessel, including seismic equipment. Approximately 80% of the total project capital expenditure will be due at, or close to delivery of the vessels. The Company has received a proposal from Eksportfinans ASA for long term financing for the two vessels of up to 80% of the total project capital expenditure at a fixed interest rate of 2.85% in addition to guarantee commission to GIEK and customary interest rate and fees to fronting commercial banks. The financing is repayable over 12 years in equal semi-annual installments. The Eksportfinans facility is subject to approval by the Norwegian Guarantee Institute for Export Credits (GIEK).
Private Placement of shares
Polarcus Limited has retained ABG Sundal Collier Norge ASA and SEB Enskilda AS as lead managers, and Pareto Securities AS and DnB NOR Markets, part of DnB NOR ASA, as co-managers (all hereinafter the "Managers"), to advise on and effect an equity issue of up to USD 65 million through a private placement directed to professional Norwegian and international investors. The Private Placement will enable the Company to partly finance the equity part of the total estimated project capital expenditure. The issue price for the Private Placement will be set through a book-building process conducted by the Managers. The minimum order in the Private Placement has been set at an amount equaling at least EUR 50,000.
The book-building period will commence on 18 November 2010 at 17:30 CET and close on 19 November 2010 at 08.30 CET. The Board of the Company may, however, at any time resolve to close or extend the application period at its own discretion.
The allocation of shares will be determined at the end of the book-building process. The final allocation will be made at the Board's sole discretion. The investors will receive Placement Shares (in the form of depository receipts) registered on a separate International Securities Identification Number (ISIN) than the existing shares of the Company. Listing and trading of the Placement Shares on Oslo Axess is subject to approval of a listing prospectus by the Norwegian Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA), at which time the Placement Shares are contemplated to be transferred to the same ISIN as the existing shares of the Company. The approval of the listing prospectus is expected to take place on or about 24 November 2010.
* Allocation: on or about 19 November 2010 at the sole discretion of the Board.
* Payment of shares: on or about 24 November 2010.
* Delivery of Placement Shares: on or about 24 November 2010.
* Approval of the listing Prospectus and transfer of the Placement Shares to the Company's ordinary ISIN: on or about 24 November 2010
The Board reserves the right, at its absolute discretion, to cancel the Private Placement at any time.