Nordic American Tankers Limited (“NAT”) was incorporated in Bermuda in 1995. In September 1995 NAT sold securities to the public in the US and in Europe. The shares are today trading at the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”).
The proceeds from the first offering (and subsequent exercise of warrants) were used to acquire 3 new suezmax double hull crude oil tankers (151,000 dwt) built at Samsung Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. to very high specifications. The three vessels (“Nordic Hawk”, “Nordic Hunter” and “Gulf Scandic”) were all delivered during the autumn of 1997 and commenced a seven-year bareboat charters to British Petroleum (“BP”) immediately after delivery. The charter was based on the spot market rates at all times; with a minimum guaranteed rate.
NAT’s bye-laws restricted the company from acquiring additional vessels or concluding other business during the charter to BP. As the charters were close to expiry, an Extraordinary General Meeting was called for in March 2004 to decide if NAT should be wound up, or continue as an active operating company in October 2004. An overwhelming majority of the shareholders voted to continue, and in October 2004 the charter to BP expired, the restricting bye-laws were effectively changed and NAT became an active operating company.
In May 2004 NAT fixed one of the three vessels (“Gulf Scandic”) on a 5 year charter to Gulf Navigation Company LLC (GULF) at a rate equivalent to approx. USD 25,000 per day on a time charter basis. The charter commenced in November 2004, and there is an option for GULF to continue the charter for 1 plus 1 year. This charter gives NAT a very low cash break-even for the whole fleet.
In July 2004 NAT announced that two other vessels (“Nordic Hawk” and “Nordic Hunter”) have been time chartered to BP Shipping for three years – in direct continuation with the present BP contracts. The charters commenced in October/November 2004, and NAT will receive the spot market rate minus 5 percent according to an agreed formula in which there is neither a ‘floor’ nor a ‘ceiling’.
In August 2004 a shelf offering of USD 500 mill. was filed to give the company flexibility to raise capital to fund further growth.
In October 2004, a USD 300 mill. Revolving Credit Facility was arranged with an international consortium of leading shipping banks to give further financial flexibility.
In November 2004, NAT purchased one additional suezmax vessel with double hull built in 1997. The vessel, Nordic Voyager, is employed in the spotmarket.
In November 2004, NAT placed 3,105,000 shares in a public offering in the US to fund the acquisition of the new vessel and to repay outstanding debt. The offering was priced at USD 38.75 per share, and net proceeds to NAT was USD 112 million.
In January 2005, NAT acquired Nordic Fighter, a double hull suezmax tanker, from an unrelated third party. The Company took delivery of the 1998 built vessel at the end of March 2005. The vessel is employed in the spot market.
In February 2005, NAT acquired Nordic Freedom, a double hull suezmax tanker, from an unrelated third part. The vessel was delivered to us directly from the builder at the end of March 2005. The vessel is employed in the spot market.
In March 2005, NAT placed 3,500,000 shares in a public offering in the US to fund the acquisition of the two vessels and to repay outstanding debt. The offering was priced at USD 49.50 per share, and net proceeds to NAT was USD 162 million.
In August 2005, NAT acquired Nordic Discovery, a double hull suezmax tanker, from an unrelated third party. The Company took delivery of the 1998 built vessel mid-August 2005. The vessel is employed in the spot market.
In March 2006, NAT acquired the ninth vessel, a double hull suezmax tanker, from an unrelated third party. The Company will take delivery of the 1998 built vessel early April 2006. The vessel will be employed in the spot market.
In March 2006, NAT placed 3,750,000 shares in a public offering in the US to fund acquisition of the Company’s ninth suezmax tanker and an additional tanker that the Company is presently planning to acquire later this year in line with the Company’s policy of accretive growth. The offering was priced at USD 28.50 per share, and net proceeds to NAT was USD 100.9 million.
In July 2006, NAT announced the acquisition of the tenth Suezmax vessel, a 150,000 dwt double-hull tanker built in 2003, for a purchase price of $80.9 million. The vessel is expected to be delivered from the seller no later than November 2006.
In July 2006, NAT announced that it has agreed to acquire its eleventh and twelfth Suezmax tanker. These vessels, one built in 2002 and one in 2003 in the Samsung shipyard in South Korea, are sister vessels to the Company’s tenth vessel (built 2003).
In September 2006, NAT announced that its lenders have agreed to increase the Company’s Revolving Credit Facility to $500 million from the present $300 million, on the same terms as the present Credit Facility.
In July 2007, the position of NAT was significantly strengthened following the closing of a public offering of 3,000,000 common shares. This offering was a so-called block transaction, whereby the newly issued shares were bought at a mutually agreed upon fixed price by the investment banks of Bear Stearns and Morgan Stanley, which subsequently placed the shares in the market. The net proceeds of the offering were used to repay debt on our revolving credit facility and to prepare for further expansion. The offering strengthened the equity of the Company with $120m.
In November 2007, the Company agreed to acquire two suezmax newbuildings which are expected to be delivered in June 2010 and by end September 2010, respectively. The vessels will be built by a first class Chinese shipyard. The sellers are subsidiaries of First Olsen Ltd. and the agreed all inclusive price at delivery is $90m per vessel, including calculated pre-delivery interests and supervision expenses. The acquisitions will be financed by borrowings under the Company’s $500m Credit Facility. There are no plans to have a stock issue in connection with these transactions. The outlays during construction will not impact earnings and dividends. The delivery of the newbuildings will increase the Company’s fleet to 14 modern double hulled suezmax tankers and enhance the Company’s earnings and dividend capacity.
In April 2008, the Company announced that it has agreed with its lending banks to extend its $500 million Credit Facility from September 2010 until September 2013 on the same terms as agreed when the Credit Facility was established in September 2005.
In May 2008, the Company placed 4,310,000 shares in an underwritten public offering in the US. The net proceeds of $159 million are expected to be used to prepare the Company for further expansion and, in the meantime, the Company intends to use net proceeds to repay borrowings under its credit facility and for working capital.
In January 2009, the Company announced the acquisition of its fifteenth vessel for a purchase price of $56.7 million. The vessel was delivered from the Samsung shipyard in 1999 and had only one previous owner. NAT took delivery of the vessel in February 2009.
In January 2009, the Company placed 3,450,000 shares in an underwritten public offering in the US resulting in net proceeds of $107.1 million. This transaction underlines the strength of our model at a time when equity markets were generally closed off to the shipping industry. The funds were intended to take advantage of the emerging attractive opportunities in the sector. Morgan Stanley acted as the bookrunning manager for the offering.
In May 2009, the Company agreed to acquire its sixteenth vessel, built at a first class Far Eastern shipyard in 2002 for a purchase price of $57.0 million. The vessel was financed from the Companyâ€™s capital resources and delivery took place in July 2009.
In May 2009, the Company placed 4,225,000 shares in an underwritten public offering in the US resulting in net proceeds of $129.5 million. The funds were intended to fund further acquisitions under planning and for general corporate purposes. The offering was managed by Morgan Stanley, with DnBNOR acting as co-manager.
In October 2009, the Company announced the acquisition of its seventeenth vessel, built in 2002 at a first class Far Eastern shipyard for $51.5 million. The acquisition was financed from cash on hand. The Company took delivery of this vessel in November 2009.
In November 2009, the Company agreed the acquisition of its eighteenth vessel, a double-hull Suezmax tanker from a first class Far Eastern shipyard, built in 2002, for a purchase price for $51.5 million. The acquisition was financed from cash on hand. The Company took delivery of this vessel in early March 2010.
In January 2010, the Company placed 4,600,000 shares in an underwritten public offering in the US resulting in net proceeds of $136.8 million. The funds are intended to fund future acquisitions and for general corporate purposes. The offering was managed by Morgan Stanley, with DnBNOR acting as co-manager.
In April 2010, the Company entered into an agreement with Samsung Heavy Industries for the delivery of 2 Suezmax newbuildings to be delivered in the third and fourth quarters of 2011, at a price of $64.5 and $65 million. These vessels have been successfully delivered and are trading in the NAT fleet.
In June 2011, the Company announced a change of its legal name to “Nordic American Tankers Limited” following the Annual General Meeting.
In September 2011, the Company acquired its 20th Suezmax vessel, the Nordic Aurora for $24.45 million. The vessel is the sister of the Nordic Sprite, built in 1999 at Samsung Heavy Industries, Korea.
NAT today has an active trading fleet of 20 vessels, all employed in the spot market.
The Board has announced that it plans to grow NAT into a larger company in the tanker market business, and that it at all times will evaluate market opportunities and employment options to enhance the value of NAT and its dividend capability.