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Asian yards scrambling as Fredriksen looks to slash orderbook

Oslo: Under pressure Golden Ocean, 30% controlled by Norwegian tycoon John Fredriksen, set alarm bells ringing across dry docks throughout Asia yesterday as it made clear it was in financially troubled times and would be talking to yards to either postpone or cancel a number of orders.
The dry bulk shipping company needs cash after two contracts were cancelled and the price of a ship sale was slashed. Any unfinanced ship order may be cancelled, the firm warned in a statement.
The disclosure today came after sister company Ship Finance International revealed it had terminated a sale and leaseback agreement for two capesize vessels, scheduled for delivery this year. Fredriksen has a 40% holding in Ship Finance International. ?The two capesize vessels are under construction at Daehan Shipbuilding, a Korean yard in financial peril that has recently applied for debt workout. ?"There are certain delays at the yard... which in turn means Ship Finance does not have to take delivery of the vessels," chief executive Herman Billung said. ?
Golden Ocean has 10 kamsarmaxes on order at Zhoushan Jinhaiwan Shipyard in China, of which six have firm charters. It also has six panamaxes under construction in India, all of which are meant to be resold to Britannia Bulk, a New York listed firm that filed for bankruptcy last year.
Mr Fredriksen's magic run of stunning deals concluded during shipping's five-year bull run appears to have come unstuck with a slew of unfortunate business decisions. Golden Ocean shares plummeted nearly 30% in Oslo yesterday.  [12/02/09]

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