(Updates with closing share price in fifth paragraph.)
Feb. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Golar LNG Ltd., the owner of liquefied natural gas carriers led by Norway-born billionaire John Fredriksen, will buy at least two more of the ships as demand for the fuel rises as much as 10 percent a year.
Golar said today it ordered two LNG tankers from Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries Co. for more than $400 million for delivery in 2014’s third and fourth quarters. More purchases of new ships and infrastructure will be announced “in the coming weeks,” Hamilton, Bermuda-based Golar said.
“The large global spreads in gas prices, the high growth in trade and the tight availability of shipping give this investment a solid foundation,” Fredriksen, Golar’s chairman, said in a statement. Global LNG trade will rise 8 percent to 10 percent annually over the next few years, it showed.
Demand for LNG carriers will expand 12 percent this year, more than the fleet’s growth of 2.5 percent, RS Platou Markets AS said in a report Feb. 7. Rates will rise to $140,000 a day, the Oslo-based investment bank estimates.
Golar climbed 6 percent to 265 kroner by the 5:30 p.m. close in Oslo trading today, leaving the stock little changed this year and raising the company’s market value to 21.2 billion kroner ($3.7 billion). Net income will more than triple to 205.5 million kroner this year, according to the average of 12 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Two of Golar’s ships whose charters are expiring this year will fetch new multiyear contracts with daily rents above $150,000, estimates Erik Nikolai Stavseth, an analyst at Arctic Securities ASA in Oslo. The company has 13 of the carriers, according to its website.
“Golar’s announcement of additional newbuilding orders underscores its favorable positioning in the LNG shipping market, which we expect will remain tight and offer the company strong returns on its growing fleet,” Omar Nokta, a New York- based analyst at investment bank Dahlman Rose & Co., said in an e-mailed report today.
--With assistance from Stephen Treloar in Oslo. Editors: Dan Weeks, Nicholas Larkin.
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