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Ridgebury taps Oslo bond market to fund more buys

March 17, 2014

Published in Tradewinds
Ridgebury Tankers CEO Bob Burke

US owner raises $210m, helping to pay for a Suezmax trio that will join four others in the Blue Fin pool.

Bob Burke-led Ridgebury Tankers has tapped the Norwegian bond market for more than $210m as it continues to expand its fleet of Suezmax and medium-range (MR) products tankers.

The Connecticut-based company sold three-year bonds at a tighter-than-expected interest margin of 7.625% in a deal solely managed by DNB Markets.

The secured offering helps Ridgebury take in three more Suezmaxes that were purchased this month and have not previously been connected with the owner: the 166,500 dwt Prisco Mizar (built 2007) and 146,500 dwt sisters Ice Explorer (built 2006) and Ice Traveller (built 2007).

The new buys boost Riverstone Capital-backed Ridgebury’s Suezmax fleet to seven. It also boasts six MR products tankers that were not part of the bond deal.

All seven Suezmaxes are to be operated in Heidmar’s Blue Fin Tankers pool.

DNB Markets says the Ridgebury deal was oversubscribed with demand from 70 investors globally.

The Prisco Mizar was one of the last two Suezmaxes operated by Primorsk Shipping of Russia. In January, TradeWinds reported it sold to Minerva Maritime of Greece along with a sister vessel for $39m en bloc. Interestingly, the Prisco Mizar had already been trading in the Blue Fin pool.

Another Suezmax recently acquired by Ridgebury, the 150,000 dwt Elisewin (built 2002), had previously been reported as on subjects to Minerva. It had also been trading in Blue Fin.

The Ice Explorer and Ice Traveller were both owned by Dynacom Tankers of Greece.

Purchase prices were not disclosed in the offering documents.

Ridgebury was founded in 2013 in Westport, with a $200m equity infusion from Riverstone, a $27bn private-equity manager. Riverstone is set to make a further $50m investment, according to documents.

Burke could not be reached for comment this week.

DNB Markets has initiated coverage on Ridgebury with a “B-” rating.