Exmar of Belgium says coronavirus has delayed Bank of China paying $40M FLNG loan facility

Friday, 14 February 2020
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Exmar, the Belgian shipping company with more than 40 vessels in its fleet now mostly focused on the liquefied petroleum gas business, said the outbreak of the coronavirus in China has caused further delays in the release by the Bank of China of $40 million under the “Tango FLNG” loan facility. 

Exmar, which has undergone financial troubles over the past couple of years, had previously said the China Export Credit Insurance Corp. had approved the release of around $40 million from a debt service reserve account under the “Tango FLNG” loan conditions.

The “Tango FLNG” vessel is chartered to Argentina and has exported three cargoes from the port of Bahia Blanca where it produces LNG from pipeline feed-gas.

The vessel was built at the Chinese Wison shipyard in Nantong and delivered to Exmar in 2017. It had initially been destined for a project in Colombia in South America that was cancelled.

Exmar said it was awaiting for the offices of the Chinese authorities to officially re-open and the tranche of money to be paid.

The vessel, chartered by Argentine energy company YPF, formally started its operations in June 2019 and the 10-year charter term began in September 2019.

The “Tango FLNG” production barge can produce around 500,000 tonnes per annum of LNG for domestic sale or export.

Exmar continues to manage 10 LNG floating storage and regasification units, though is not directly involved in regasification projects with former partner Excelerate Energy of the US.

Exmar added in its financial update that under the ongoing arbitration procedure on an FSRU barge with commodities group Gunvor, the financing of the asset could not be completed.

“Meanwhile Exmar obtained a further extension of its bridge loans until the end of February and of certain other capital expenditure until mid-March,” explained the Antwerp-based company.

Exmar is still caught up in a legal dispute with Gunvor over an FSRU barge that was also delivered from the Wison Nantong shipyard in China in 2017.

The Exmar barge with 25,000 cubic metres capacity was the subject of a 10-year Charter to Gunvor signed in October 2018.

Gunvor had been expecting to deploy the barge in Bangladesh. Then the Asian nation cancelled planned small-scale projects to concentrate on a larger venture.

Exmar has also made executive changes in January 2020 as it tries to improve finances after several setbacks to meet the challenges of the year ahead.

Among the changes, it has named Francis Mottrie in the new position of Deputy Chief Executive to work along Nicolas Saverys, the Group CEO.

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