Welcome to Conyers’ 2021 Norway Practice Bulletin. Our annual publication underscores the importance of the Norwegian market to our Bermuda corporate practice.
The 12 months since our last issue have been very different, to say the least, and something of a roller-coaster with second and third waves of Covid-19.
In general, 2020 was an especially difficult year for raising capital in the shipping sector. Across the segments total raised capital dropped 52% on 2019, according to Norwegian investment bank Fearnley Securities. Nonetheless, Oslo-listed Bermuda companies in the shipping and offshore energy sectors completed some offerings, including:
- Stolt-Nielsen’s US$180.5 million bond offering in June 2020
- Avance Gas’s $65m private placement of new shares in April 2021
- Frontline’s $100 million public offering of ordinary shares in June 2020
- Golden Ocean’s significantly oversubscribed private placement of new shares which raised US$337 million in February 2021
- Borr Drilling’s US$46 million equity offering in January 2021 and US$32.8 million equity offering in two tranches in September 2020.
A few companies announced share buy-backs, including Flex LNG Ltd and GoodBulk.
M&A activity included New Fortress Energy Inc.’s acquisition of Hygo Energy Transition Ltd. and Golar LNG Partners LP for US$2.8 billion in January 2021, and the take-private of Höegh LNG Holdings Ltd. in May 2021.
Two Bermuda companies delisted in the past year: Team Tankers from the Oslo Børs, and Independent Tankers Corp. from the N-OTC.
Not surprisingly, we have seen a significant amount of restructuring activity, especially in the offshore energy sector. On page 3, we discuss different options for restructuring a Bermuda company.
While Bermuda’s tourism industry has been badly hit by the pandemic, a bit of a silver lining has recently emerged with the announcement that Viking Ocean Cruises will homeport in Bermuda for the first time this summer. You can learn more on page 2.
Although once again the pandemic has prevented us from making our usual visit to Norway, we will be there virtually at the Capital Link Maritime Forum on 26 and 27 May, and hope to connect with you. We remain committed to our relationships with Norwegian law firms, defence clubs, shipowners and financial institutions and look forward to seeing you again.