Bermuda: Norway Flies The Bermuda Flag
Last Updated: 10 March 2015

David W.J. Astwood and Marcello Ausenda

A Norwegian shipping group has become the latest Bermuda shipping company to list its shares on the Oslo Stock Exchange (Oslo Bors) after announcing the closing of a deal valued at approximately US$300 million.

Team Tankers International Ltd. is the new holding company for the restructured Eitzen Chemical shipping group which has just registered 14 ships on the Bermuda shipping registry – the most to be registered at one time in Bermuda.

As part of the restructuring, the Eitzen Chemical shipping group also rebranded its entire business to Team Tankers International.

Marcello Ausenda, a director in the corporate department in the Bermuda office of Conyers Dill & Pearman, said: "We have advised a number of Bermuda company issuers on the Oslo Bors recently and we are pleased to have been asked to represent Team Tankers International on this substantial transaction.

"We were only able to register 14 vessels all at the same time by collaborating closely with the Department of Marine Administration (DMA) and a local industry partner."

Last year, Eitzen Chemical shipping group took the decision to redomesticate to Bermuda. As part of the redomestication, the group undertook a restructuring that was completed in January 2015, resulting in the transfer of 14 vessels from the Singapore ship registry to Bermuda.

Following the closing of the restructuring, the group launched an exchange offer that was virtually unanimously accepted by its shareholders. There were also successful retail and employee share offerings that resulted in the shares of new Bermuda holding company being approved for listing on the Oslo Bors from yesterday. (Monday, March 9, 2015.)

Team Tankers International Ltd. is now the fifteenth Bermuda company listing on the Oslo Bors. According to Mr Ausenda, Conyers has advised all Bermuda company issuers on the Oslo Bors in the past two years including BW LPG Limited, Odfjell Drilling Ltd and Avance Gas Holding Ltd.

"Team Tankers International is precisely the type of client that we want in our jurisdiction. They have substantial assets and they are here for the long term. They took the decision to come here because of the quality of our shipping platform including the high level of services that Bermuda offers across the board in the shipping sector," said Mr Ausenda.

Chief Surveyor Captain Pat Nawaratne, of the DMA, added: "We are delighted that the Team Tankers International group chose Bermuda as its new home for the 14 vessels that were registered earlier this year.

"We convinced the client that we were up to the challenge of meeting their requirements including the registration of multiple vessels at the same time pursuant to the terms of the restructuring and we were very pleased that we were able to deliver."

John O'Kelly-Lynch, President of Delphi Management Limited, who is an expert in private international shipping and private equity investment has worked with various Eitzen companies over the years and was also instrumental in bringing the group to Bermuda.

He said: "This group could have literally relocated itself and its vessels anywhere but they chose Bermuda because of the high quality of the jurisdiction as a domicile and the great reputation of the Bermuda ship registry exemplified by the outstanding service that the group received from Captain Pat, Ed Robinson (the Registrar of Shipping) and the entire team at the DMA."

He said the group may consider relocating senior staff to the Island which would further increase its physical presence and would be another element of good news for Bermuda.

David Astwood, the Head of Conyers shipping practice, said: "This transaction represents a tremendous boost to the Bermuda shipping industry. Bermuda has the imprimatur of quality in shipping circles. The newly registered vessels will fly the Bermuda flag which enjoys an excellent reputation and is currently the highest ranking flag on the Paris MOU 'white list'.

Mr Astwood added: "The DMA once again demonstrated why it is known in the market for making the Bermuda ship registry available for registrations when necessary at all hours.

"This flexibility is critical and represents a competitive advantage for the Bermuda ship registry and benefits the entire jurisdiction. Word spreads quickly in the market and we are optimistic that transactions like this one will pave the way for further growth in Bermuda ship registrations in the coming year."

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