Bjoern Sjaastad, chief executive officer of Frontline Ltd., the world's biggest crude-tanker company by capacity, comments on OPEC's output policy, freight rates for tankers and acquisition prospects. Sjaastad spoke in an interview at the company's Oslo office on June 14.
On the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries:
``It's good for the market if they raise output, and we feel that the likelihood of them raising output is greater than the likelihood of reducing output further.''
On Frontline's earnings:
``We expect a slightly better second quarter than the first quarter.''
On acquisition plans:
``We always think consolidation is a good thing because you need scale in this industry.
``If there are opportunities for consolidation, Frontline definitely will consider participating and be a major player in such consolidation.''
On the sale of Frontline's remaining 17 percent stake in ship owner Sealift Ltd.:
``Our plan is to either sell our shares in Sealift or give them to shareholders as a dividend, which we expect will happen this year.''
On European Union proposals on ship scrapping:
``I think there will be stricter regulations as you've seen in many areas of shipping for environmental purposes.''
Sjaastad said regulations will ``probably drive the cost of scrapping up.'' Frontline hasn't ``been scrapping so much. There are presently no ships in our fleet that we expect to scrap in the foreseeable future.''
(The European Commission issued a paper May 22 on dismantling obsolete ships in a way that doesn't damage the environment or workers' health).
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