Paris's Bourbon sells vessels to China's ICBC Financial Leasing

By Nicel Jane Avellana

Jan 07, 2014 06:14 AM EST

Paris-based Bourbon SA said it divested a dozen vessels to China-based ICBC Financial Leasing as part of its move to decrease debt, Bloomberg reported. The price tag for the deal is $378 million.

Bourbon, an operator of supply and crew ships for the oil industry, provides offshore oil and gas marine services, assistance and salvage as well as services ranging from ship design to operation.

In a statement, Bourbon said the recent deal brought to 21 the total number of vessels sold to ICBC last year. The total sales have been valued around $522 million. The company said it will have a positive free cash flow for the full year 2013 while reducing its debt.

Last year, Bourbon agreed to sell and lease back deal with ICBC Financial Leasing for up to 51 vessels. The transaction is aimed to reduce the borrowings of the Paris-based firm. Bourbon said it expects to transfer the 30 remaining ships in 2014.

At the end of November, the firm also inked a sale and charter agreement of six new-build vessels with Standard Chartered. The deal was worth nearly $150 million with half of the vessels valued at $65 million already moved at the end of last year. The statement also said that last year, Bourbon also divested older vessels for a price tag of $183 million. For 2013, total vessels reached $770 million, the statement said.

In March, Bourbon unveiled a plan where the company could sell up to 30% of its supply vessel fleet for a price tag of $2.5 billion. Bourbon intends to operate 600 owned and chartered ships by next year under an expansion plan worth $2 billion. This was an increase from the 479 ships at the end of September.

Information from Bloomberg Businessweek revealed that ICBC Financial Leasing gives financial and operating lease of new equipment, sale and leaseback financing, optimized sales and leaseback, structural tax credit lease and other services.

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