Norwegian Bank To Support Frontline

November 23, 2011

Norway’s largest financial services group DNB ASA — a lender to Bermuda oil-tanker operator Frontline Ltd. — said it will back the shipping company through an industry slump that slashed returns from hauling crude at sea, the Bloomberg business news service reports today [Nov.23].

Frontline, whose main shareholder is Norwergian-born Cypriot shipping billionaire John Fredriksen, said yesterday it was seeking talks with creditors and may run out of cash next year.

Returns are only covering operating costs and ship prices have plunged as much as 50 percent, the tanker company said.

“We’ll support them through the downturn,” Harald Serck- Hanssen, DNB’s Oslo-based head of global shipping, offshore and logistics, said by phone today. “We’re sure they’ll be one of the winners in the consolidation process that will come as a result of this downturn.”

Serck-Hanssen declined to say how much DNB has lent to Hamilton, Bermuda-based Frontline. The tanker company has $1 billion of bonds and public loans maturing in the next decade, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

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