Gram Car Carriers is planning to offer $100m of new equity in an Oslo Euronext listing of its 16-ship PCTC fleet.

Ahead of the new listing, Ivar Hansson Myklebust has come on board as Gram's new board chairman. Myklebust is the former chief executive officer of Hoegh Car Carriers.

In meetings with investors, the company is pitching a plan is to start paying shareholders dividends in the first quarter of 2022.

Myklebust said he expects the Oslo offering to be well received in Oslo at a time when the typical new public equity project is a new energy play with a long lead time before any payoff, and lots of investments on the way.

Norwegian shipowner and investor Peter D Gram with his family remains the largest shareholder in Gram Car Carriers. Photo: Darrin Griggs

"Investors want to balance that with cash flow," he said.

"There is no doubt that this is going back to a good old shipping story — tonnage already on the water in a rising market," said one finance man involved with the project. "That's a very sexy story."

The new public holding company for the historically private and low-key tonnage provider will offer investors a dividend payout of a minimum of 50% of quarterly net profits, Myklebust and chief executive officer Georg Whist told TradeWinds.

Fearnley Securities and Pareto are acting as global coordinators in a group of investment banks that also includes Clarksons Platou Securities, Nordea, Swedbank, and SEB.

Myklebust and Whist both told TradeWinds the company is now sounding out a few key investors ahead of the listing, which the company had been trying to keep under wraps until Norway's Finansavisen broke the story.

"It's always a bit surprising what long ears some journalists have," said Whist.

But the company was not reluctant to confirm the project, which Whist described as a "bringing home" of the company from its present corporate base in Singapore.

Whist and Myklebust both said the focus will be on strengthening the balance sheet and creating a quarterly dividend yield vehicle, but Whist allowed for the possibility of acquisitions after the listing.

"Our focus is to capitalise on what we've got," he said. "There could be some accretive deals to be done and they will be proposed to the board if they are accretive. But we are happy with our size, and any new acquisitions would be done with additional capital raises."

Gram Car Carriers presently lists 20 ships on its website but this includes four ships commercially and technically managed for other Norwegian owners.

The current equity in the fleet is worth about $130m based on the company's view of its net asset value pending final valuation. The new $100m public listing will thus represent about 43% of shares in the company. The company is currently in the hands of about 50 shareholders, among whom founder Peter Dybwad Gram and his family hold about a 20% share pre-listing.

Alongside the listing comes a refinancing, including a $180m lending facility from a consortium of five traditional shipping banks and $70m worth of lease finance from a Chinese leasing house.

Myklebust told TradeWinds the new bank facility will replace some lenders who are "not that interested in shipping anymore". On the leasing front, the number of Chinese lease-financed vessels will be cut from four to two.