SFL – Upsize of refinancing, delivery of a newbuilding Suezmax and sale of a single-hull VLCC

Press release from Ship Finance International Limited, March 18, 2010


Ship Finance International Limited (NYSE:SFL) (“Ship Finance” or the “Company”), today announced that it has agreed with a syndicate of leading international banks to upsize the planned refinancing of 26 vessels on charter to Frontline by $50 million to $725 million.


The background for the increase is the significant oversubscription in the banking market, combined with conservative leverage on underlying asset values. The upsize will not affect other terms and closing of the refinancing is expected to be finalized within March 2010.


In addition, the Company announced that is has today taken delivery of the newbuilding Suezmax Everbright from the shipyard. This is a sister vessel of the Suezmax Glorycrown which was delivered from the shipyard in November 2009, and both vessel are employed on 5-year bareboat charters to an affiliate of North China Shipping Holdings Co. Ltd. (“North China”)


The delivered cost price per vessel is approximately $70 million, and Ship Finance has received $40.5 million net upfront per vessel from North China. In addition, the Company has secured $42.6 million financing per vessel, and the net effect of this is a significant positive cash contribution. There was a book gain of approximately $24.5 million relating to the delivery of the first vessel in the fourth quarter, and we expect a similar effect also with respect to the delivery of the second vessel in this quarter.


Ship Finance has also agreed to sell the single-hull VLCC Golden River to an unrelated third party for a net sales price of approximately $12.6 million. Delivery to the new owner is expected to take place in April 2010, and Ship Finance will receive net cash proceeds of approximately $4.7 million after prepayment of associated debt and compensation to Frontline for the termination of the current charter.


The reduction of the single-hull tanker exposure is in line with the Company’s strategy of focusing on modern assets in various shipping and offshore segments. Following this sale, and excluding one vessel previously announced sold on hire/purchase terms, Ship Finance will have only five non-double hull crude oil tankers remaining in the fleet.  


Ole B. Hjertaker, CEO in Ship Finance Management AS, said in a comment: “The increase in the loan facility amount demonstrates our standing in the bank market, and the additional $50 million will further strengthen our ability to take advantage of opportunities that may arise. In our view, access to both attractively priced capital and deal opportunities will be instrumental in our efforts to continue our accretive growth and building the distribution capacity.


We are also very pleased with the delivery of the second newbuilding Suezmax to North China. In addition to a significant positive cash contribution, we are also building our charter backlog with quality counterparts, currently totaling more than $6.8 billion.”



March 18, 2010


The Board of Directors

Ship Finance International Limited

Hamilton, Bermuda



Contact Persons:

Ole B. Hjertaker: Chief Executive Officer, Ship Finance Management AS

+47 23114011 / +47 90141243


Magnus T. Valeberg: Vice President, Ship Finance Management AS

+47 23114012 / +47 93440960




About Ship Finance

Ship Finance is a major ship owning company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: SFL). Including newbuildings, the Company has a fleet of 68 vessels, including 31 crude oil tankers (VLCC and Suezmax), two chemical tankers, eight oil/bulk/ore vessels, one dry-bulk carrier, 9 container vessels, six offshore supply vessels, one jack-up drilling rigs and three ultra-deepwater drilling units. The fleet is one of the largest in the world and most of the vessels are employed on long-term charters. The Company has declared a cash dividend for 24 consecutive quarters.


More information can be found on the Company’s website: www.shipfinance.org



Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward Looking Statements


This press release may contain forward looking statements. These statements are based upon various assumptions, many of which are based, in turn, upon further assumptions, including Ship Finance management’s examination of historical operating trends. Although Ship Finance believes that these assumptions were reasonable when made, because assumptions are inherently subject to significant uncertainties and contingencies which are difficult or impossible to predict and are beyond its control, Ship Finance cannot give assurance that it will achieve or accomplish these expectations, beliefs or intentions.


Important factors that, in the Company’s view, could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in this presentation include the strength of world economies and currencies, general market conditions including fluctuations in charter hire rates and vessel values, changes in demand in the tanker market as a result of changes in OPEC’s petroleum production levels and world wide oil consumption and storage, changes in the Company’s operating expenses including bunker prices, dry-docking and insurance costs, changes in governmental rules and regulations or actions taken by regulatory authorities, potential liability from pending or future litigation, general domestic and international political.