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Sovcomflot and NYK Line secure LNG refinancing for two LNG carriers

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LNG Industry,

Sovcomflot (SCF Group) and NYK Line have announced that they have signed a new US$176 million non-recourse credit facility for eight years with three leading international banks.

The banks are: Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. of Japan (through its German subsidiary, SMBC Bank EU AG); Société Générale of France; and Shinsei Bank of Japan. The agreement was reportedly signed through joint venture companies belonging to SCF Group and NYK Line.

According to the statement, the facility will be used for refinancing two ice-class LNG carriers servicing the Sakhalin-2 project, Grand Aniva and her sister ship Grand Elena, which are jointly owned and operated by SCF Group and NYK Line. The vessels transport LNG year-round from the port of Prigorodnoye on Sakhalin Island to customers in Japan, South Korea and China under long-term contracts with Sakhalin Energy, the operator of Sakhalin-2 project. Since LNG shipments began from Sakhalin-2 in March 2009, the two vessels have successfully completed 325 voyages, delivering more than 46.5 million m3 of LNG to customers.

Grand Aniva, which was built in 2008, and Grand Elena, which was built in 2007, both have a cargo capacity of 145 000 m3. The vessels are assigned an ice class of 1C, allowing them to safely operate in challenging ice conditions of the Sea of Okhotsk year-round. With this financing facility, SCF Group claims it is pioneering the adoption of provisions that allows lenders to meet the Poseidon Principles – an environmental initiative by leading international banks that encourages a low carbon future for the worldwide shipping industry by developing a framework for assessing and disclosing the climate change impact of ship finance portfolios. According to the statement, the Poseidon Principles are consistent with the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) aim to decrease shipping’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 50% by 2050.

Nikolay Kolesnikov, Executive Vice-President and CFO of Sovcomflot, said: “We are delighted to have concluded this new long-term financing agreement for our joint venture companies with NYK Line. We are grateful to our long-standing financial partners for their continued support and are pleased to welcome establishing relations with new international lenders.

“SCF Group continues to demonstrate uninterrupted access to ship finance amid market cyclicality, which allows us to maintain a smooth debt repayment profile and a robust long-term liquidity position fully in line with our budgetary targets.

“We are also pleased that this financing allows us to support the Poseidon Principles, a new initiative by the banking community aimed at decarbonisation of the shipping industry, and to promote responsible and sustainable shipping.”

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